Freshman Mattie Cutts gave Pine Creek the lead with her first goal and the league title with her second.
In the 52nd minute, Cutts scored the controversial game-winning goal for the Eagles in their eventual 3-1 victory over Liberty, giving them a fourth 5A Metro title in a row.
Pine Creek coach John Frederick had a grin from ear to ear after his team was able to check off both of its season goals in a matter of 48 hours. First, the Eagles clinched a spot in the state playoffs when they topped Doherty on Tuesday. Then they won the league title Thursday.
“It’s great,” Frederick said. “A lot of people thought we’d be down in the league since we lost so many seniors, but our girls took that as a challenge and here we are.”
Rampart had won earlier in the day with a 1-0 victory over Doherty thanks to a goal from MaryBethe Smith, but it needed an Eagles’ loss or tie to claim all or part of the title.
For the Rams, no such luck.
In the second game of the doubleheader at District 20 Stadium, Pine Creek senior Mackenzie Korbus rifled the ball up to Cutts, who ran 50 yards before putting the Eagles up 2-1 with 28:16 remaining.
The question is: was she offside or not?
“I was at half (50-yard line), so I don’t think I was,” said Cutts, who could not have been called for offsides if she was not beyond midfield.
“She was on this side of the 50,” her coach added. “She was clearly 3 yards onside.”
Liberty fans and its coach Andy Liddle didn’t see it that way, at least, at first.
“My initial thought was yeah she was offside,” Liddle said. “Fortunately we have video so I’ll see tonight. But hey, that happens and it’s how you respond.
"I’m proud of how my girls battled all year.”
Cutts, a freshman, picked a good day to go off for two goals and an assist after accumulating only four goals in her brief career before Thursday.
Five minutes into the game, keeper Bri Legaspi towered a punt past midfield to Cutts, who was pinched between two defenders. The freshman snuck the ball away, breaking into the open where she netted the game’s first goal from 15 yards.
“What we like so much about her is she is that around the ball she is always fighting, fighting, fighting,” Frederick said. “And on that first one she fought through people and around people.”
Liberty tied it in the 22nd minute when Jordan Thinger uncleated a couple of Pine Creek defenders with a move at the 20, then, all alone, speared it into to the left corner of the net.
The half’s excitement finally ended after Cutts hit the left post in the 32nd minute and then, off a corner kick, Liberty defender Katie Perroni headed away a shot after keeper Courtney Smith had lunged to stop the initial chance.
At the end, Stephanie Dumosch’s goal in the final minutes sealed the game for the Eagles, who will begin the state playoffs next week.