In Class 3 District 12 games this evening, the Kickapoo Chiefs came from behind to defeat the Neosho Wildcats 3 – 1 while the Parkview Vikings defeated Joplin by way of penalty kicks after going scoreless during regulation and four overtime periods. That sets up the Final on Friday as a rematch between the two Springfield squads.
For the Vikings, it will be their third straight District 12 final. In 2003 they knocked off the Glendale Falcons in the semifinal in a game that went to PK’s (I’m trying to find the video) only to lose to the Josh Driver-led Eagles. Last year was a game against Neosho that the Wildcats won, leading to a Sectional matchup with the Rolla Bulldogs. This year they get the #15 state-ranked Chiefs. Probably the one game that they are least likely to win by comparison to the earlier opportunities.
The game Thursday night against the Eagles was like a pair of boxers, prepared to take as many body punches as possible while waiting for the opportunity to land the match ending uppercut. With a shots advantage that Joplin identified as 41 to 13 the best opportunity came when senior Chris Hernandez found himself breaking into the six yard box only to have GK Tyler Kutz dive to his right and take the ball almost literally off of Chris’ foot. The Vikings had two breakaway opportunities in OT that required diving saves. In the end it was junior GK Tyler Kutz with two PK saves that made the biggest difference, sending Parkview to yet another Final.
For the Chief’s, an early goal by Neosho woke up a team that had been idled since their loss to Glendale back on October 25th. That was all the motivation they needed and by the time the game had ended, sophomore Heath Melugin had his second hat trick of the year and the Lucas Merino led Wildcats were left to pack their bags for the last time this season.