Skyline High School boys soccer coach Don Barnum has coached for 20 seasons and only a few times seen a finish like this.
"It’s one of the top five most unique right there," Barnum said.
Puyallup led through 71 minutes in the first round of the 4A state playoffs on Wednesday at Skyline High School.
With seconds remaining until overtime, Skyline won the match because of the difference in a free kick and a penalty kick.
McKinley Fodness was fouled from just outside the penalty box and the referee awarded him a free kick. While players were still trying to determine what the call was – and if they should be lining up a wall for the free kick or clearing for a penalty kick – the official dropped the ball and Fodness quickly struck it into the back of the net.
It happened so quickly. But in the matter of seconds after the foul was called, Skyline had taken the 2-1 lead it needed to earn a trip to the state quarterfinals and stun No. 4 Puyallup.
"We look for the first opportunity that arises," Barnum said. "Until you ask for 10 yards, the ball is legally ready to be played. (Puyallup’s) keeper came all the way out of the frame, and McKinley saw that and kicked it in.
"We’re always looking for quick restarts and ways to get ahead and McKinley is one of the players that’s been in our program a long time. That was one off of years of study and he was in the right place at the right time. And he took it."
Puyallup coach Matt White was frustrated at the official’s lack of clarification on the field of what the ruling was.
As he was explaining what he saw, he was asked if he’s seen a play like that in his 17 seasons with the Vikings.
"Nope. Never. Zero times," White said. "Players were clearly within 10 yards and two guys were yelling and asking, ‘Hey, can I get 10 yards? And it was, boom, set play."
Puyallup took a 1-0 lead when Dane Helle worked his way up the left sideline and struck the ball into the top right corner of the goal, unassisted, in the 11th minute.
Kasch Johnson would have made it 2-0, Puyallup, in the 69th minute, striking a header into the back of the net. But the official ruled that he shoved a Skyline defender to create space and the goal was called off.
Then the chaotic finish.
Skyline tied the match, 1-1, two minutes later off a well-designed corner kick. Nathan Steele kicked a rope of a pass to Joseph Camp, who got his right foot on it and got the ball past two Puyallup defenders and just over the outstretched arm of Vikings goalkeeper Owen Ebner for the equalizer.
"We changed our system to control the middle and just absorb pressure because they changed goalkeepers to a guy who could hammer the ball to our 30 or 20. So we just went, ‘Fine, we’ll just win headers and go at them.’ They countered and got opportunities that way.
"The unlucky part is we missed on that corner kick, which was a good goal and was a designed play by them and was well done."
Barnum said they added that play off the corner just this week.
"We thought it was one that would work out in the second half and I’m glad it worked out," he said.
4A SPSL champion Puyallup ended its season with a record of 13-4-2. It has lost in the first round of the state tournament each of the past five years, including a losses to Skyline in 2014 and 2010. This was the fourth time in Puyallup’s eight state appearances that it had met Skyline, of the 4A KingCo, in the first round.
Skyline ended Bellarmine Prep’s season in the first round of state last year.
White said he spoke to his team afterward about their memorable season, which resulted in their fourth consecutive league title and sixth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
"This is a great bunch of kids," White said. "These kids worked so hard for us. So hard for us. I love every one of them. It really was a pleasure to coach them."
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677