Fort Payne 1, Northview 0 (2 OT)
Freshman forward Evan McPherson’s header for a goal at 87:43 in the second sudden-death overtime to lift Fort Payne to a 1-0 victory in the AHSAA Class 6A boys’ state soccer championship match Saturday at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex.
McPherson winning goal was set up by a spectacular pass from Danny Gallegos from more than 40 yards away for Coach Jessie Gamez’s Wildcats (20-1-4). McPherson was named MVP of the championship match.
Goalkeeper Luis Ramirez had the biggest defensive play of the match with a save on goal in the final seconds of regulation. A long Northview kick got behind the Fort Payne defenders and Ramirez jumped high to snag the ball as it bounced over his head in front of the goal. Ramirez finished with four saves.
That save sent the two teams into overtime tied at 0-0.
Jesus Escalera played well for Northview (17-5-1), coached by Joe Nelson, taking four shots and keeping pressure on Fort Payne’s defense in the second half.
The state title was the second for Fort Payne’s boys. The Wildcats also won the 5A state championship in 2011. The Fort Payne girls have won eight state championships in the 25-year history of the AHSAA soccer championship program, including the first six 1A-5A titles from 1991-1996.