Philomath finished the season with a 17-1 record, losing only to conference rival Stayton. (Photo by Andrew Millbrooke)
Philomath finished the season with a 17-1 record, losing only to conference rival Stayton. (Photo by Andrew Millbrooke)

HILLSBORO -- No. 2-seeded Philomath got the equalizing goal with less than seven minutes remaining, then defeated No. 8 Hidden Valley on penalty kicks to win 2-1 in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 4A boys soccer final Saturday at Liberty High School.

Philomath junior goalkeeper Teddy Benbow made an outstanding save in the third round of penalty kicks, then iced the victory with a goal, winning the shootout 5-3.

“It’s something as a keeper you just dream about,” Benbow said. “We’ve been working on penalty kicks all week. The entire postseason we have spent 15 to 30 minutes at practice just taking PKs. Having that prep definitely helped. I just had to keep my cool and not hit it too hard, I didn't want to sky it.”

“That’s what I expect from Teddy,” Philomath coach David Ellis said. “He’s the best goalkeeper in the state, hands down. He’s amazing. Once he made that save, I knew he wouldn’t miss that fifth shot.”

After a scoreless opening half where neither team had any good looks at the goal, the Mustangs (13-5) struck first early in the second half as sophomore Mason Klipfel got free directly in front of the goal and buried a shot into the back of the net from 10 yards out with 35:46 remaining.

Philomath (17-1) began to put pressure on the Mustangs' back line after falling behind. Ellis said that bringing in junior Ian Alba was the difference for the Warriors.

“Honestly, it was bringing Ian on to give us some pressure up top,” Ellis said. “When he came on it changed the game for us, where we could get at them. Ian hasn’t played in a couple games, but he was what we needed today. He created space for our players to get forward.”

Philomath had numerous close chances that were thwarted by Mustangs senior goalkeeper Spencer Fiske. The Warriors finally broke through on a penalty kick by their leading scorer, senior Mark Grimmer Jr., with 6:52 remaining to even the score 1-1.

“We practice penalty kicks all the time,” Grimmer said. “We never, ever want it to go to PKs, but we knew that we would be very good if we ever went to PKs.”

The teams played two 10-minute overtime periods, but both squads looked gassed. Hidden Valley had good looks at the goal by freshman Jojo Saunders in each overtime period, but he couldn’t connect.

“Our boys don’t lose,” Ellis said. “You know, we lost once this year. There is a lot of belief. They are a very close group, so I always had faith that they would come through.”

Philomath, with only four seniors on its roster, will bring back plenty of experience. The Warriors outscored their opponents 72-11 this season and will be tough to score on with Benbow minding the net next season.

“We are going to be good next year,” Ellis said. “We play in our league with Stayton, and if you can beat Stayton you can win state.”

“We are looking forward to next year,” Benbow said. “We do a training academy with our younger kids and we have a good freshman class coming in.”

After going 6-4 and finishing third in the Skyline conference, not many predicted Hidden Valley would be in the mix for a state championship this season. But the Mustangs finished strong, winning six in a row before the loss to Philomath.