POPLAR RIDGE — In a tie game with 10 seconds remaining, the Chiefs had the ball on their own side of midfield and appeared destined for overtime with the Indians.
But the ball found its way to Southern Cayuga's top playmaker, and he delivered a miracle finish.
Antonio Valdez scored the winning goal as time expired to push Southern Cayuga boys soccer over Odessa-Montour 2-1 Thursday at Southern Cayuga High School. The win gives the Chiefs nine victories on the season.
Valdez's winner was no easy feat. He gathered the ball from well outside the goal box, darted to the right and kicked the ball across his body over the outstretched arms of the Indians goaltender.
"We had some connecting passes. The center middle checked down, received a pass, flipped and turned it up to (Antonio)," Southern Cayuga coach Joe Landry said. "He knows he can shoot a 40-yard ball, and he put his head down, had a nice bend and put it in the goal."
Valdez scored both of the Southern Cayuga's goals, while goalie Lorenzo Raymundo chalked up eight saves in net.
Most of Raymundo's action came in the second half as Odessa-Montour pressed for the tying goal. Valdez scored his first four minutes in and the Chiefs protected their one-goal lead until the Indians' Curtis Harris knotted the game with 16:33 remaining.
Odessa-Montour generated a handful of other glorious chances against the Chiefs defense, but Raymundo's robbery kept the score at 1-1 to set up the late dramatics.
"We just supported each other," Landry said. "We really focused this week on if one guy steps up, who the other guy there in case something bad happens. Lorenzo was sure-handed today and kept some of those shots out. And there was luck involved."
Other than Valdez's clutch play Landry was pleased with how the Chiefs possessed the ball, particularly in the first half.
"Overall we had a lot of possession. Playing balls at our feet, being able to turn and find the next set of feet..." Landry said. "We've been training with a little tiki-taka ... quick playing, back-and-forth, and keeping possession whether we're going forward or swinging it back around."
Southern Cayuga wraps up the regular season at 9-5. The Chiefs are the No. 5 seed in the Section IV, Class D playoffs and will host No. 12 Roxbury at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.