A Clay County team is on course to make noise in the Class 4A boys soccer playoffs.
Just not the one most people expected.
With one low drive into the net in overtime, Andrew Henderson punched a playoff ticket for Oakleaf - and flipped the blueprint for the Class 4A postseason upside down.
Henderson’s 83rd-minute golden goal fired Oakleaf to a 2-1 stunner over defending Class 4A champion Fleming Island Wednesday night at Bartram Trail’s Bear Stadium.
One week ago, the Golden Eagles (17-1-3) were ranked first in the nation by USA Today and the United Soccer Coaches. Now, they’re sitting on the sidelines for the playoffs.
And Oakleaf (8-1-2), backed from start to finish by an iron central defense of Jackson Hester and Nash-Xavier Philogene, wrapped up the biggest victory in the school’s soccer history.
Three minutes into overtime, Braden Ammon took a pass at midfield, rounded the Fleming Island defense and accelerated down the right flank. Ammon then squared the ball across, where Stetson-committed striker Henderson blasted it home from the top of the box.
No Northeast Florida team had beaten Fleming Island since Atlantic Coast on Feb. 2, 2016. It’s just the eighth time a team has beaten the Golden Eagles in the last five years.
Early on, Fleming Island appeared on course to extend a winning streak that dated back 381 days. Evan Parks put the Golden Eagles in front after six minutes, poking home a rebound from Dylan Bartel’s shot.
But Oakleaf’s steady possession, sparked in midfield by crafty sophomore Jarron Cintron and spearheaded by the front trio of Henderson, Ammon and Albert Cooper, brought the Knights back into the game.
Oakleaf tied the score in the 18th minute, when Cooper was tripped up in the box and converted the ensuing penalty, and continued to press a Fleming Island defense that was missing key center back Noah Hamlett after a first-minute ankle injury.
Fleming Island began to build pressure late, with strikers Reed Davis and Lucas Hauth testing Knights keeper Carlos Acosta and forcing a leaping save with five minutes to go.
But just when Oakleaf’s gas tank seemed empty, Henderson pounced for the winner.
The loss concludes the outstanding high school careers of several Fleming Island players including Hauth, bound for Davidson, and Davis, a Jacksonville University commit who scored more than 100 goals in his last two seasons.
Oakleaf will advance to Friday’s district final against Creekside, which stunned host Bartram Trail 1-0 on Zane Bubb’s deflected free kick with 6.3 seconds to play.
Creekside (11-4-2) had absorbed 79 minutes of pounding from the Bears, getting outshot 30-4 and not even managing an attempt on target until the 71st minute.
But goalkeeper Dean Jamsheedy stopped everything Bartram Trail (13-4-2) could throw at him, making 10 saves and surviving a penalty kick when Zech Dapaah sent his 49th-minute attempt wide of the net.
The goal frame also denied the Bears, when Nick Binghi’s effort from the right wing clanked off the post.
Finally, after a night of one-way traffic, Creekside struck the game-winner.
The ever-dangerous Bubb, who had started the game at sweeper but shifted upfield to striker, drew a foul in the closing moments. Racing to take the kick before time expired, he drove his shot off the wall and past Bears keeper Matt Kondracki.
Bartram Trail appealed for a penalty kick when the Bears’ hurried kickoff was handled at the edge of the Creekside box, but the clock hit zero as officials apparently ruled the hand ball occurred outside the penalty area.
Creekside will make its second consecutive trip to the playoffs.
For the first time ever, Sandalwood is making back-to-back playoff trips.
Justin Uhrmacher scored the game-winner in overtime, giving the Saints a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Gainesville Buchholz.
Winger Habes Mubarak struck in the second half to force the extra session for Sandalwood (16-3-1), which avenged its regular season loss to the Bobcats.
The Saints will play Friday against Ocala Forest, which defeated Mandarin 3-1 to end the Mustangs’ season at 10-5-3.
Bruno Takeda concluded his hat trick with 33 seconds remaining in double overtime, returning Atlantic Coast to the playoffs with a 4-3 win against Englewood.
Senior striker Takeda starred for the Stingrays, who fell behind 2-0, rallied to take a 3-2 lead but then went to overtime after Mahamat Ahmat’s late equalizer for the Rams.
Atlantic Coast will play Friday against top seed Fletcher, now the area’s last surviving unbeaten after topping First Coast 8-0 in a mercy-rule game.
The Senators (19-0-2) ran their season goal count to 117 with scores from eight different players: Patrick Wendell, Brayden James, Brian Schaefer, Van Slabicki, Jordan Mackey, Gabe Lorin, Logan Bolwell and Seth Donelan. Fletcher now stands 13th in the TopDrawerSoccer national ranking and figures to climb next week after Fleming Island’s loss.
For the first time in 11 years, Wolfson is heading back to the playoffs. The Wolfpack upset top-seeded Stanton to secure their first postseason trip since 2007, a squad that included future professional defender Nurdin Hrustic.
Wolfson will next play Paxon, which returned to the playoffs with a 4-1 win against Stanton.
Led by two goals from Miguel Ortiz, Ridgeview snapped its postseason drought with a 6-1 victory against Menendez. The Panthers (11-1-1) return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
Ridgeview next meets sixth-seeded Matanzas, which stunned 2016 state champion Ponte Vedra in the semifinals. The Pirates won the shootout 2-0 after regulation concluded 1-1.
Ben McBrayer scored the lone goal for the Sharks (11-6-1), who failed to convert in the shootout and will not be playing playoff soccer for the first time in nine years.
Juan Esteban scored a hat trick and Coast Stefan also found the net for Fernandina Beach, defeating Providence 4-0 to advance to the Class 2A playoffs.
The Pirates will play an all-Nassau County district final Friday against Yulee, which beat West Nassau 5-2. Ronny Sephestine and Quincy Wilson each scored twice for the Hornets.
Keystone Heights saw its season end in a 5-3 loss to Alachua Santa Fe. Zack Martin scored two goals and an assist to lead Santa Fe (18-1-2).
Freshman Thomas Whitehouse scored in overtime to lift St. Joseph past St. Johns Country Day 1-0 in overtime, extending the Flashes’ postseason streak in the district semifinal.
The Flashes advance to Friday’s title game against Christ’s Church, which secured its postseason spot by defeating University Christian.