NAPLES -- The season appeared over for Naples Barron Collier.
Goalkeeper Selvin Hernandez was down, the ball past him during overtime of the Class 4A-Region 3 final against Palmetto.
As the ball trickled to the goal line, sophomore defender Esteban Ramos made the slide to beat all slides, taking the ball out of harm's way. The Palmetto sideline went from jubilation to shocked disbelief, and the Cougars had new life.
Another sophomore, Chris Pilavis, took care of the rest. His clutch shot into the right corner of the net gave the Cougars a 2-1 victory and clinched the school's first berth in the state semifinals.
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Although Pilavis got his just due in postgame celebrations, Barron Collier couldn't stop talking about Ramos' miraculous play.
"I went from 'you can't print this in the paper' to jubilation," Cougars coach Charles Shanks said. "That's Esteban Ramos for you; the kid plays like he's 22."
For his part, Ramos said he was just doing his job.
"It was right on the line, and I just made a slide tackle and cleared it out of there," Ramos said. "It felt great, knowing we still had a chance to play. It's an amazing feeling, going to states."
Pilavis didn't even start the game, as Barron Collier coach Charles Shanks held him out in the first half to save his legs for an opportunity late in the game. That move proved to be a wise one indeed, as Pilavis and his fresh legs beat his man and he blasted the history-making shot, much to the delight of a raucous Barron crowd.
The Bears trailed for much of the contest. Palmetto's Raul Loera found the back of the net in the 26-minute mark in the first half.
The Cougars battled, but didn't get many great looks at the goal. Their hustle netted them the equalizer late in the game. Barron Collier caught the Tigers on their heels, resulting in a handball called against Palmetto and a penalty-kick opportunity for Barron's Jhoan Bonilla-Cruz.
Earlier in the half, Bonilla-Cruz launched two shots over the crossbar. This time, his aim was true, firing off a missile over Palmetto goalkeeper Matt Simmonds' outstretched arms for the game-tying goal with less than six minutes to play.
"A lot of people think PKs are cheap, but we got that PK because we stretched their defense out," Shanks said. "The handball was called because the kid was caught behind, out of position."