Boys Soccer: Gery’s Walk-Off Goal Sends Rosewood Into The Fourth Round (PHOTO GALLERY)

Boys Soccer: Gery’s Walk-Off Goal Sends Rosewood Into The Fourth Round (PHOTO GALLERY)

Reece Gery just had to get the ball off.

“There was like ten seconds, then five, then four, and I just had no thought,” Gery said. “I just put it on the net and tried to cross it in, and it went in.

“I just thank God that it happened.”

There were seconds left in Rosewood’s third-round playoff game against Falls Lake Academy, and a Falls Lake foul gave the Eagles a free kick.

Gery sprinted over and quickly launched off a shot from over 20 yards out. Somehow, as the final whistle sounded, the ball went over the outstretched hands of the Falls Lake goalie for the game-winning goal.

1-nil Eagles.

“I keep telling them that every round is going to get tougher and tougher,” Rosewood head coach Eddie Maldonado said. “Falls Lake is a good team. “They were really tough to break down, and heck, we couldn’t break them down.

“Honestly, we got a lucky goal. How often is that goal going to go in? Especially with a second left, but we’ll take it.”

Gery’s walk-off goal helped the Eagles (20-0-2 overall) advance to the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs for the second time in the three years.

Rosewood will face North Moore (10-5-2) in the fourth round on Thursday.

“It’s really exciting because every step you’re one step closer to the ultimate dream, and that’s playing for a state championship,” Maldonado said. “It’s so tough to even have an opportunity. Since I’ve been coaching, I’ve had three or four teams that have gotten to the third round.

“Getting to the fourth round is not something that happens on a regular basis, and it’s an opportunity that you just have to take advantage of.”

For 79.5 minutes, the game seemed destined for overtime.

Rosewood and Falls Lake neutralized each other as neither team could find the back of the net.

The Eagles had a handful of chances throughout the game, but they could not convert. On the defensive side, the Eagles did an excellent job of keeping the Firebirds off the board.

“All season, defensively, we continued to grow and get better,” Maldonado said.

However, just as the clock was about to strike zero, Gery’s heroics sent the Eagles into a joyous frenzy as they surrounded Gery.

And as the Eagles walked off the field, Rosewood goalie Benjamin Peacock lifted Gery onto his shoulders as the fans celebrated the Eagles’ stunning victory.

“I was thinking about what I was going to tell them before extra time,” Maldonado said. “I just wanted to yell at Reece ‘slow down,’ but I’m glad I didn’t say anything.”