CHESTERFIELD • Will Peacock is used to playing the role of hero.
But the Parkway Central senior forward still had a look of shock on his face Tuesday night.
"I can't believe this really happened," Peacock said minutes after his golden goal in the second overtime lifted the Colts to an improbable 5-4 win over Ladue in a Class 3 sectional match at Parkway Central. "Pretty amazing."
To say the least.
Peacock put an end to a thrilling two-hour roller-coaster ride by pushing a shot past goalkeeper Noah Melson with 5 minutes and 30 seconds left in the second 15-minute sudden-death period.
Central, the defending state champion, has a chance to repeat thanks to Peacock's tally, which came off a highlight-reel pass from senior Adam Burnett.
The Colts (19-6-2) blew a 4-0 halftime lead before re-rallying in the extra session.
"Just wanted to make it exciting for everyone," joked Central senior keeper Blake Seigel, who made several fine saves down the stretch.
Peacock has had plenty of time in the spotlight in the past. He sent his team to the state tournament last season with a goal in double overtime in a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Fort Zumwalt South.
Central and South (18-9) will meet again at 6 p.m. Saturday at South with another final four berth on the line.
Peacock also tallied the game-winner in a 3-2 triumph over Parkway South on Oct. 4.
"He's our Mr. Clutch," Burnett said. "Whenever we need a big goal, or a big play, it seem likes he's always there for us."
Peacock almost didn't get the chance to shine. He was removed from the match at halftime after coach Brian Adam decided "to change things up a bit."
But one of the Central forwards hurt his ankle midway through the second overtime and Adam thrust Peacock back into the lineup.
Two minutes after he re-entered the match, Peacock found the entire season at his feet.
Burnett's through pass slid between a pair of defenders and sent Peacock in all alone. Melson got a piece of the blast, but the ball trickled tantalizingly across the goal line.
"A lot of times, I think about where (the shot) is going to go," Peacock said. "That's when I miss. I just wanted to hit this one hard, low and on frame — which is what I did."
Adam's move of bringing Peacock back into the match could be considered a stroke of genius.
"Or maybe I look like an idiot because I didn't do it sooner," Adam said. "But he came though. It was a gut play."
Peacock saved the Colts from could have been a difficult setback. They dominated play in the first half and carried a comfortable cushion into the break on tallies from Camden Dunne, Burnett, Kristian Dimitrov and Layne Helvey. Burnett scored on a rocket-like free kick from 34 yards out. Helvey converted off pass from MJ Fitz to push the lead to 4-0 with 9:15 left in the half.
But Ladue (15-11) didn't quit.
Grant Powell scored twice to trigger a four-blitz in 26:27. Carlos Puyo capped the rush by pounding home the equalizer with 11 minutes left in regulation.
"In my 28 years of coaching I've never seen such a dramatic turnaround," Ladue coach Dave Aronberg said. "We came out soft and we just talked at halftime and said that there were goals to be had."
Central almost won in regulation but Dunne's apparent game-winner came a split second after the end of the half.
The Colts promptly went back to work. Seigel made a pair of nifty stops in the first OT to set the stage for Peacock's seventh marker of the season.
The landmark tally came on Peacock's first touch since he came back into the match and will likely go down as one of the biggest goals in the history of the program.
"After they scored four and we went to overtime, it was kind of like starting over," Peacock said. "We just picked it back up."
Adam was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief after the triumph.
"A lot of credit goes to (Ladue)," Adam said. "What a comeback. But we had the backbone to come back and attack the goal and it paid off in the end."