McMURRAY — In less than nine months, Mason Le will graduate from Canon-McMillan High School.
But Thursday night, he turned into a child who just found out school was snowed out.
That’s what happens when you score the winning goal in overtime in a big game against a section rival.
With 11 seconds left in the first of two possible overtimes in Thursday night's Class 4A Section 2 match between Canon-McMillan and Peters Township, the Big Macs’ senior captain scored the winner to give the Big Macs a colossal triumph, 3-2.
“I hit it, (it) hits the back post, bounces in, next thing you know, everyone is screaming,” Le said, his voice growing gradually more excited as the description went on. “We go crazy. We go crazy.”
For Le, this moment was up there with any, including 2019’s WPIAL title-game win over Mt. Lebanon.
His teammates were equally giddy.
“That’s my boy!” Le’s classmate Aarik Yetter gleefully yelled in Le’s honor.
Coming into Thursday night, the Indians and Big Macs (4-0-1, 6-1-1) were the only unbeaten teams in section play. For 40 minutes, it looked like the Indians (5-1, 7-1) would further separate themselves from their Washington County brethren, leading 2-0 at the half.
Five minutes and 19 seconds into the game, Alex Grim scored off a long free kick to put the Indians ahead, 1-0.
Peters Township added another goal with 13:37 to play in the half when Nick Magee scored. But the Big Macs kept fighting. Joe Tornari scored off a throw-in just two minutes and 47 seconds into the second 40 minutes.
“We knew, as soon as we got that first goal, we were winning that game,” Le said.
Those words proved to be prophetic. Later in the half, Canon-Mac tied the game at 2-2 when Ethan Orr was involved in an own goal.
Peters Township had a chance to retake the lead when Grim had a penalty attempt with roughly 15 minutes to play, but Canon-Mac goalkeeper Toby Goeckeler saved the kick.
For Peters Township coach Bob Dyer, this was where the game flipped.
“I think we’d gotten the momentum back,” Dyer said. “I think we’d created a couple of opportunities, and they were able to make that save, and then go right down the other way and they get a chance out of it. So, obviously, it’s a huge momentum change.”
From there, the game went into overtime. It looked like a second overtime would be necessary, but with 11 seconds left, a ball off Le’s head ended it.
“We don’t stop fighting,” Le said. “We don’t stop fighting.”
Peters Township will look to bounce back against Baldwin Tuesday night at 7:30. For Dyer, remembering why the loss happened is a better option than simply putting it in the rearview mirror.
“I don’t think we shake this off at all,” he said. “I hope we don’t. We need to remember the reasons why it happened.”
“They started winning more balls than us,” Dyer said. “We still had plenty of chances to win the game, we just didn’t finish our chances, and they finished the couple that they had."
For first-year Big Macs coach Ben Johnson, the goal is much greater than simply beating Peters Township on the road.
“We don’t just win one game against Peters,” Johnson said. “To be competitive in the WPIAL is to get the job done when it matters."
However, winning a rivalry game is still sweet for Canon-Mac.
“Love coming out on top,” Le said. “I love it. I love it.”