Brice Patterson scored all three goals for the Jeeps, who went on the attack early and often in a 3-2 district championship victory Saturday at Chillicothe's VA Memorial Stadium.
After Minford evened the score with five minutes to play, Patterson found the back of the net in a scramble after a free kick.
"Two of my teammates had taken shots before that, deflecting them off other players," the junior forward said. "I was just right beside the ball and was able to put it in... It felt pretty great."
The goal, scored with just 2:23 to play, capped a night where the Jeeps were on the attack often, controlling the tempo and ball for much of the game.
"We thought that was going to be the key, keeping possession and watching for counter-attacks because they counter-attack extremely well," South Webster coach Corey Claxon said. "You just try to play the odds. You get more scoring opportunities, you win the game and that worked out for us tonight and we're thankful."
Patterson scored off a Braiden Ruth assist in the game's 15th minute to give the Jeeps a 1-0 edge, and doubled that margin early in the second half.
Not to be outdone, Minford's Jake Hackworth answered seven minutes later with a goal of his own. When the Falcons turned up the intensity later, Hackworth found the Falcons cleanest look at the net all night, and brilliantly struck a shot just below the crossbar to even the score at 2-2.
"Jake Hackworth, he's just like that," Minford coach Theresa Havens said. "He's spontaneous. He's everywhere. He does make things happen and he gets this team motivated. He's just an inspiration to everybody on this team."
Hackworth had the Falcons flying high in the contest until Patteson's late goal took the wind from their wings.
"It was just gone in a split second," Havens said. "Momentum was going in our favor there towards the end and we were making things happen, getting aggressive when we needed to and were playing with everything we had. Then Webster came back again. They're a phenominal team and what a class act they are. Our boys don't have anything to hang their heads about."
Minford lost two just games on the season, both at the hands of the Jeeps.
"We didn't know what Minford would be like this year but they gave us a great game right from the start and it was definitely a game tonight," Claxon said. "They've got a great team."
Claxon was pleased with his team's defense for limiting the quick-striking Falcon attack to 12 shots.
"Our back line has been solid all year," he said. "They play tough defense, cover for each other and play smart. They're strong and you can't really give them enough credit. They don't usually get the credit they deserve but they should get it tonight (with their) great game."
Thanks largely to the play of that defense, South Webster will play on while the Falcons' season comes to an end. It also was the end of the soccer careers for Minford seniors Duncan Jordan, Conrad Cwik, Nathan Wolfe, Jacob Sparks and Hackworth. With Jordan in net and the duo of Hackworth and Cwik manning the front line, Minford surprised a lot of teams, winning 17 in a row between the two losses to South Webster.
"(This season) was very pleasantly surprising," Havens said. "No one expected us to come back and do the things that we've done."
The Jeeps now are one game shy of surprising and matching the feat Minford accomplished a year ago. They will play their regional semifinal contest Tuesday at Philo High School near Zanesville.
CHRIS DUNHAM can be reached at email@example.com.
Minford 0 2 — 2
South Webster 1 2 — 3
First Half — SW, Patterson (Ruth) 25:55.
Second Half — SW, Patterson (Ruth) 33:59; M, Hackworth (una) 26:45; M, Hackworth (una.) 5:05; SW, Patterson (Ruth) 2:23.
Records — Minford 17-2, South Webster