HOUGHTON — It looked as though the tables were going to turn on the Fillmore boys soccer team.
After leading for nearly 40 minutes against Scio in the Section 5 Class D crossover game, the Tigers equalized with 10 minutes to play.
Fillmore coach Jamie Mullen was the first to admit that the Scio goal was a punch in the gut.
That was until Ethan Peet came to the rescue.
With seven minutes remaining, Peet came out of nowhere to bury a rebound past the outstretched Scio goalkeeper, giving the Eagles a 2-1 win on Wednesday and sending them to the Far West Regional.
Fillmore’s Levi Webb had taken a shot toward the far goal post that Scio keeper Corey Bolzan made a great diving save to his left on.
He couldn’t quite hold on to the ball, however, and Peet capitalized.
“We’ve been emphasizing that we’ve got to hit balls toward the far post,” Mullen said. “Even if we miss, it’s going to serve up juicy rebounds, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Fillmore’s first goal came in the 32nd minute of the first half, when Mason Cool passed the ball to Webb in the middle of the field.
Webb waited at the top of the 18-yard box, then one-timed the ball into the top right corner of the net.
Cam Loucks scored Scio’s goal, as he took a touch about 10 yards away from the net and booted it on the ground toward the near post.
“It’s a gut punch when you give up a goal late in the game after surviving for as long as we did,” Mullen said. "To come back and respond the way we did a few minutes after, that’s a character test on our part and I’m proud of my guys.”
With 50 seconds left, Scio had a chance on a free kick from 20 yards out, but the ball was blocked by the defensive wall and cleared out of danger by Fillmore.
The Eagle defense controlled Scio’s potent attack for the majority of the night.
The Tigers outshot the Eagles, 11-8, but it seemed that every time their forwards got to the Fillmore back line of defense, they were shut down.
“Their outside fullbacks and stoppers are really tough,” Scio coach Dillon McFall said. “We played too many balls into the box that were at their keeper.
“We battled the whole night, we just needed to find the back of the net and we didn’t find it enough tonight.”
Fillmore keeper Dylan Valentine seemed to always be in position, as he cut down a number of Scio crosses and scoring opportunities.
Valentine finished with 10 saves, while Bolzan had six stops for Scio.
“I can’t say enough (about our defense),” Mullen said. “We man marked them all night long, and there’s no other team that’s been able to do that all season long. There are a lot of really good college defenders that would have trouble with those (Scio) players, and our guys did a really nice job.”
This will be Fillmore’s first trip to the Far West Regional since 2007.
“I said after the sectional game, anything after this is icing on the cake,” Mullen said.
The Eagles, who also claimed the rubber match with Scio after the teams split in the regular season, will play Section 6 champion North Collins at Hilton High School on Saturday.