The beautiful game was played in ugly conditions Tuesday as the fourth-ranked Portage Central Mustangs and Brighton Bulldogs battled in the Regional semifinal round. Fortunately, the new turf field of Portage Northern held firm through the constant downpour and Portage Central outlasted mid 40s temperatures, strong wind, and the Bulldogs for a 1-0 overtime victory.
The first half was pretty even with both squads limiting opportunities at the net. Portage Central started to control the possession more firmly in the second half, but still couldn’t score through 80 minutes of play. About two minutes into overtime, the Mustangs got a free kick about 45 yards from the net. Gunnar Fredericks put it to the near post and Michael Ketteman was there with the header with 7:43 remaining in the first overtime.
Brighton had one last hope on a free kick about 30 yards away with 10 seconds remaining in the second overtime, but Mustang goalkeeper Nick Kuppler snagged it and secured the clean sheet and victory.
Brighton finishes the season at 12-6-3. Portage Central improves to 18-2-3 and advances to the Regional final against East Kentwood, the defending Division 1 state champion. The Falcons defeated Grand Haven 2-0 in Tuesday’s other match. The final is set for 6 p.m Friday evening from Portage Northern.
Listen back to Tuesday’s game below: