Parker punches Downstate ticket
Updated: October 25, 2011 7:16PM
If ever the name fit the occasion, Edgar Bravo justified his own applause.
The junior Parker midfielder scored 11 seconds into the Colonels’ 1A supersectional and ignited two key offensive bursts that Parker rode to a 4-1 victory over Stillman Valley Tuesday at DePaul.
Parker advances to the second semifinal Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Corn Crib in Normal against the winner of Quincy Notre Dame and Columbia.
“Max Jones sent me a great through ball, and I was able to control it,” Bravo said. “The goalie didn’t seem to react very well, he just stood there. He didn’t approach me and when I saw that, rather than crossing the ball, I went right for the [far post] and it was there.
“We talked about at the start of the game coming out really hard and taking it to them, and that’s what we were able to do,” he said.
Two minutes later, Ian Forrest drilled an 18-yarder from the right side that curled into the net as the Colonels (18-8-1) seized a 2-0 advantage.
“What a home field advantage,” Parker coach Neil Curran said. “Technically, we’d never played on this field before, but our school is four blocks away and a lot of the kids have come here in the summer and just kicked around balls on the field.
“Plus, Stillman Valley had to travel three hours to get here, and that’s a big difference. We really wanted to use that advantage and come out play like gangbusters.”
After the initial shock, Stillman Valley (22-2) mounted a comeback, using the wind advantage to control much of the possession time the remainder of the half.
The Cardinals broke through in the 45th minute, scoring on a shot by midfielder Pifa Estrada that narrowed the deficit to 2-1.
It served to wake the Colonels up.
“That shot really brought us back to Earth,” Forrest said. “We were so pumped and ready to go at the start of the game, and we almost lost some energy and some of our emotion and after they scored we knew we had to get it back.”
Parker reclaimed the momentum and scored on nearly identical plays, headers that originated from the same left corner.
In both cases, sophomore midfielder Griffin Amdur delivered perfectly positioned balls that Forrest and junior forward Jacob Weiss scored in at the 56th and 59th minute to help punch the team’s ticket to Normal.
The semifinal appearance is the first since the 2007 team finished fourth in the state.
“I was in eighth grade that year, and I remember watching them,” Forrest said. “They were hot shots around school, and I knew then that state is where I wanted to be, that’s what it is all about.
“This is a dream for us and the school.”