Brennan Weller could hardly breathe.
The Edwardsville High junior forward was buried at the bottom of a large dogpile of teammates after he scored one of the most dramatic goals in the history of the tradition-rich boys soccer program last Friday.
Weller tallied with one-tenth of a second left on the clock to propel Edwardsville to a thrilling 3-2 win over Moline in the Class 3A Normal West Community Sectional championship match.
The Tigers (20-4-1) claimed their first sectional crown since 2013, when they went on to capture their second state championship. They were scheduled face either Lincoln Way East or Chicago Marist in the Bradley-Bourbonnais Super-Sectional after Journal press time at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. For up-to-date results, visit stlhighschoolsports.com.
Weller pounded home the rebound of a shot by Cooper Nolan to end a match that appeared to be headed to overtime.
“The greatest feeling of my life,” Weller said. “I was so happy to help my teammates pull through with a win.”
Weller’s 13th tally of the season set off a massive celebration. The entire team swarmed on top of him.
“It was a little tight as far as me breathing,” Weller said. “But I wouldn’t give up that feeling for anything else in the world.”
Weller’s tally capped off an impressive comeback. Nolan triggered the rally by pounding home the tying goal with 13 minutes remaining. He leads the Tigers with 19 goals.
Heiderscheid said he cannot remember being a part of a contest that was essentially decided at the final horn of regulation.
“The last kick of the game was it,” Heiderscheid said. “I looked to make sure there was still (time) on clock. It was pretty cool.”
Adam Sneed scored in the 18th minute to get the Tigers off and running. They had several chances to a pad the 1-0 lead but came up empty.
Moline withheld the charge before responding with goals by Blake Mastian and Isaac Ruiz in the second half to take a 2-1 lead.
Edwardsville responded with several lengthy runs to reclaim the momentum.
“We just picked up the pace,” Weller said. “Toward the end, everyone was kind of tensing up, waiting for overtime. We just got a chance and made the most of it.
Heiderscheid likes the way his team has performed down the stretch. The Tigers have lost just once in their last 17 matches.
“We’re playing well, our attack is very diversified,” Heiderscheid said. “We’ve got plenty of ways in which to operate and that’s good for us.”