The cold front that blew into the state Thursday couldn't cool off Henry Clay.
Walker Ueland's goal with five minutes left in the second overtime vaulted the visiting Blue Devils to a 1-0 victory over Paul Laurence Dunbar and, with the win, a sectional championship.
"We knew coming into the game that we were a different team from the beginning of the year," said Coach Tim Bernardi, who lost 3-0 to Dunbar on Aug. 19.
"We're just playing as a team," Ueland said. "At the beginning of the year, we were just a bunch of individuals. Now, we're finding it."
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The Blue Devils (17-6-1) will meet Scott in the state semifinals at Georgetown, Thursday at 8 p.m.
"We're gonna go for it," Bernardi said of a title run. "That's been our motto all year. We definitely thought we had the talent at the beginning of the year. We thought that we had a lot to work on, but had the talent. Now we're starting to put it all together and peaking at the right time. So we're gonna make a push."
With scoring chances few, Dunbar (19-3-3) pressed hard in the final minutes of regulation.
The Bulldogs came close with 20 seconds left, but goalkeeper Ryan Smalls punched a shot up and over the goal.
"I was really nervous," Smalls said. "Freaking out that they were going to score. I just went up for it on the shot and got it over."
With a brisk wind in its face, Henry Clay packed in on defense through the first 10-minute overtime. When the ends changed, though, the Blue Devils got in gear.
"I just saw I could take the ball down the line," said Ueland, who quickly dribbled into the left side of the penalty box, then slipped a low winner to the far side. "Just beat 'em and got a nice shot in the back post. Man, they played well — it was a great game!"
Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz knew that Henry Clay would not resemble the team the Bulldogs saw in August. Asked before the season which team was the city's best, he recalled, "I said 'Henry Clay.' I wish I was wrong. I was right."
Dunbar had won 15 consecutive matches since falling 1-0 to East Jessamine on Sept. 9.
"This time of year, against a good team, is always just a slim margin of error," Bretz said. "Their keeper played well. We tried to create some chances. We thought we had a couple of good opportunities but it didn't go in for us tonight."
The shutout was the 14th of the year for the Devils, including a scoreless draw.
Henry Clay is hot, with wins in its last eight matches.
"We've been on a streak," Ueland said. "We feel great. We're gonna go all the way."
Henry Clay 1, Paul Dunbar 0
Goal — Walker Ueland.
Goalkeepers — HC: Ryan Smalls; PLD: Taylor Nossokoff.
Records — HC: 17-6-1; PLD: 19-3-3.