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Oak Mountain scores in final minute to beat Thompson, keep playoff hopes alive

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Oak Mountain’s boys soccer team has been one for heroics in the clutch as of late and the result was no different as the Eagles hit the road to face the Thompson Warriors in a key area battle on April 13.

Both teams had chances to score, but neither could capitalize as the two teams found themselves gridlocked with no scoring for 79 of the 80 minutes.

But in the final minute Oak Mountain’s Corbitt Grundhoefer broke through the defense and scored to shock Thompson and wrap up a gritty, 1-0 region win.

“Our last two weeks against Vestavia, Spain Park, having to win at Hoover and now we’re here tonight and we’ve been playing every game like a playoff game,” Oak Mountain head coach David DiPiazza said. “Like if we don’t win this game, we’re done. I knew it, the guys knew it, and that’s what this team has been about—getting things done and being resilient.”

Oak Mountain got after it on offense early on in the first half and kept Thompson from getting many chances on their end.

The Eagles took six shots, putting two on goal, but the Warriors were solid on defense as well, fending them off time and again in Thompson territory.

“Thompson’s a really good team, they’ve held a lot of good teams to 0-0 games and it’s just a matter of being patient and getting an opportunity and making the most of it,” DiPiazza said.

Thompson started getting more aggressive toward halftime, but endured a rash of injuries after the break. The Warriors lost three players in the second half including their starting goalkeeper just a few minutes into the period.

The Warriors’ best shot came minutes later, earning a penalty kick after being tackled from behind in the box. But the kick skidded along the turf and glanced off the left goal post to leave goose eggs on the scoreboard.

THS looked to be picking up momentum at home, but the Eagles locked in for the game’s final 15 minutes.

Oak Mountain got off several shots late and finally broke through with moments to spare.

A good through ball found Grundhoefer, who split the final two defenders, sliding a shot just past the goalie into the left corner of the net.

DiPiazza said has seen enough recently to expect a strong finish from his club.

“The fact that they don’t give up is not a surprise at all to me because I’ve never had this quality of character on a team,” DiPiazza said. “You can’t do anything but love your kids because they play for you.”

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