GEORGETOWN — The final 30 minutes of the state soccer semifinal seemed like an eternity to Henry Clay.
The Devils had just gone up a goal and down a player against No. 19 Scott.
Senior forward Saint-Marc Dokossi scored the game winner and then ripped off his jersey as a part of the celebration and was given a red card.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "I went crazy. It was a mistake."
Henry Clay's Tim Bernardi said coaches like to argue every call but this one was difficult to protest.
"It was unsportsmanlike," the coach said. "He went a little too far with it. ... He took his jersey off and that's a red. There's not much we can say."
From the Toyota Stadium sideline Dokossi urged his teammates on. "I just told them to keep working hard and make it count," he said.
A disjointed Henry Clay team that had to come together during the season showed its coach just how tight-knit it had become and held on to win 2-1 Thursday night to make a trip to the state title game where it will face Daviess County.
"We thought this was going to be a rebuilding year," senior Walker Euland said. "But this is wonderful. Our whole team has come together."
Just in time for the Devils to make their first trip to the state championship since 2000 when they fell to St. Xavier 2-1. Henry Clay did win a state title in 1991.
Bernardi knew at the beginning of the season that his team had the pieces to be a good team, but he was working with a bunch of individuals.
In the final 30 minutes of the game, he saw his team fully come together. Some key adjustments — including moving star John Manga to the back and subbing regularly — helped.
"Playing a man down is rough," Euland said. "We had to hold strong and pack it back and thankfully we played hard and held strong."
The defense held the Eagles without a shot on goal in the second half until five minutes remained.
It was Euland's shot that set up Dokossi's goal. The senior played a rocket shot toward the goal, which keeper Matt Kees was able to clear, but it left the goal open for the rebound shot from Dokossi.
Eleven minutes into the game, Scott scored first when junior Jimmy Hillmann slid one into the goal on a free kick by teammate Dexter Morgan.
The Eagles carried the 1-0 lead into the break and Henry Clay hadn't managed a shot on goal, although it had a few good looks.
Three minutes into the second half, it was Zach Campbell who evened it up on a rebound shot.
Dokossi, the Devils' third-leading scorer with 13 goals on the season, will have to sit out the title game because of the red card.
Daviess County 1, Central Hardin 0: Ryan Brewer made the most of a free kick from Michael Bastin and found the back of the goal late in the first half for the Panthers, who advanced to its first championship game.
Just a few short weeks ago, Daviess (17-9-1) seemed an unlikely state finalist, going 10-9-1 in the regular season, before winning seven straight to get to the championship game.
The Bruins (20-4-2) were aggressive in the second half, trying to even the score. But all three of their shots on goal (all by Taylor Sheeran) were halted as was Central Hardin's six-game win streak.
Daviess Co. 1, Central Hardin 0
Goalkeepers—DC: Jordan Ratliff; CH: Andrew Trombley.
Records—Central Hardin 20-4-2, Daviess Co. 17-9-1.
Henry Clay 2, Scott 1
Goals—S: Jimmy Hillmann; HC: Zach Campbell, Saint-Marc Dokossi.
Goalkeepers—S: Matt Kees; HC: Ryan Smalls.
Records—Henry Clay 18-6-1, Central Hardin 19-6-2.