Los Alamitos – As the old saying goes, “It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.” That was the case for in a season-opening classic between two number one teams. Foothill, no. 1 in the OC, pulled off a stunning comeback against Loyola, no. 1 in Los Angeles, in a rematch of last year’s Southern Section Championship game.
Troy Hofer came up big for the Knights, notching the game-winning goal and lifting them to a 12-11 overtime win over the two-time reigning Southern Section Champions in the OC Invitational at Los Alamitos High School.
“I’m just really proud of these guys. We’re starting a lot of freshman and a lot of new kids on this team that got some incredible experience first time out. I think we had like five freshmen on the field most of the time,” Foothill coach Jon Fox said.
The two teams met in the Southern Section final last season, with Loyola winning 13-4 at Palos Verdes High School.
This time, Foothill got revenge, but it had to play from behind throughout most of the game. The Knights fell behind 3-1 after the first quarter and each time they drew to within one goal, Loyola had an answer. Eventually, the Cubs led 5-3 at halftime.
The Cubs came out hot in the third quarter scoring four out of the quarter’s first five goals to take a 9-4 lead. But the Knights answered with two straight goals to draw within 9-6 after the third.
Loyola led 10-7 in the fourth after the two teams exchanged goals, but the Knights scored three straight goals, with the third one coming from Andrew Cumming, who led Foothill in goals with five. Loyola took back the lead at 11-10 thanks to a goal from Robert Henderson, but Josh Fox of Foothill knotted the game at 11-11. After neither team could get a clean look for the rest of the fourth quarter, the game went into overtime.
On the ensuing faceoff in overtime, neither team won the faceoff, but thanks to an alternate possession, Loyola was awarded the ball and called the timeout to draw up a play. The Cubs were unable to capitalize and Foothill took the ball and eventually found Hofer for the game-winner. After the game, the Foothill players stormed the field, as if they won the Southern Section championship.
“Troy’s one of our main offensive guys. We’re expected to get him looks,” Fox said in regards to Hofer scoring the game-winner.
Hofer finished with two goals for Foothill (1-0) while Josh Fox, Britain Houssiere, Easton Babb, Riley Ahern and Grant Roess had one goal apiece. Fox and Cumming each had two assists apiece, while goalies Ethan Sepulveda and Joey Garcia combined for 12 saves.
Foothill also had to play without standout Ellis Geis, who was out with a hamstring injury at the end of the first quarter.
“We weren’t expecting to be playing without Ellis, so that was a little shift,” Fox said.
For Loyola (0-1) Alex Horowitz led the Cubs in goals with four. Kaiser Fry had two goals and two assists while Henderson, Hunter Ballard, Ronan Gallagher, Speed Fry and TC Pettit had one goal apiece. Will Parducci had 12 saves for the Cubs, which dominated the faceoffs, winning 22 out of 27.
Both teams continue in the OC Invitational at Los Alamitos. Foothill plays Santiago of Corona on Wednesday at 7 p.m. while Loyola plays host Los Alamitos on Tuesday at 6 p.m.