AURORA | Enock Kenge believed his right-footed punch early in overtime of Wednesday night’s Class 5A boys soccer second record state playoff contest was destined to sail wide of the goal.
But in a magical 2017 season in which everything has gone right for the playoff-starved Hinkley, the senior midfielder’s shot twisted inside the goal post and into the back of the net to give his team a sudden 2-1 victory over district rival Rangeview at raucous Aurora Public Schools Stadium.
Kenge’s 10th goal of the season, second of the game and third in as many postseason contests finally put lifted the sixth-seeded Thunderbirds over the 11th-seeded Raiders in the second back-and-forth battle between the EMAC powers on the season.
First-year coach Marcos Madera’s Hinkley team — in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 — improved to 15-1-1 and moved into a quarterfinal matchup set for 10 a.m. Saturday at French Field against No. 3 Fort Collins, a 3-1 winner over No. 19 Castle View.
Counting a 1-1 double-overtime tie in the regular season on Sept. 26 on the same field, the Thunderbirds and Raiders (12-4-1) played even for 186-plus minutes of soccer until the deciding goal in overtime.
The game-ending scenario began a little over five minutes into the first 15-minute golden goal overtime session when active senior stiker Anandro Sinaga headed a ball forward to junior midfielder Andre Lavalle on the left wing.
Lavalle dribbled past a Rangeview defender and sent a hard pass along the ground to the feet of Kenge, who punched the ball between two closing defenders and towards the net where it eventually nestled into the corner.
Kenge was swarmed by his teammates and carried across the field on their shoulders as Hinkley fans poured onto the field in celebration.
Coach Vic Strouse’s Raiders got on the scoreboard first when Braidon Nourse got his head on a serve from Juan Chavez and directed it past Thunderbirds’ goalkeeper Alexis Acevedo.
Kenge evened it up before halftime on a rebound.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
(6) HINKLEY 2, (11) RANGEVIEW 1 (OT)
Score by halves:
Rangeview 1 0 0 — 1
Hinkley 1 0 1 — 2
Rangeview goal: Braidon Nourse. Hinkley goals: Enock Kenge 2