Fortune seemed to be smiling on the Highland boys soccer team Thursday night.
Less than three minutes after Mission Oak tied the game, Timothy Felix took a great pass from Gabriel Vega and tapped home what proved to be the decisive goal, and Highland benefitted from a pair of late calls to earn a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals of the Division III Central Section Boys Soccer Championships Thursday night.
After the Hawks evened the score on a goal by Ramon Meraz, the Scots marched right down the field. After outracing his defender on the right side, Vega lobbed a pass to a streaking Felix, who got just enough to push the ball into the net with 25:30 to play.
"We were up on a counter and got (one-on-one) with the keeper and poked it in the corner," Felix said of the play. "You don't have to do anything fancy then to make it big."
Meraz appeared to tie the game with 10:35 to play, when he made a steal in front of the Highland net and pushed a shot by goalie Pablo Robles. But after a brief conference, officials ruled that though Meraz had received the ball while onsides, he started in an offsides position, which vacated the goal.
It wouldn't be the last controversy of the night. Moments after Robles made a diving save off a free kick, the ball rolled out of bounds. Before placing the ball back into play, officials ruled the game over, leading to a contentious moment with Hawk players, who felt they should have been given a chance at a corner kick in the closing seconds.
"Usually the refs do wait for the ball to get cleared out," Highland coach Daniel Felix said. "I understand why they were upset, because I would be too if it ended like that."
Regardless of how it ended, coach Felix was elated to see his second-seeded team reach the semifinals for the first time since 2009.
"We haven't been in this position in awhile," he said. "It feels good to be playing again next week."