SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Shawnee and Lexington know each other very well.
The two have met in the Division II boys soccer regional finals the last three years.
But, for a split second Saturday afternoon, Lexington lost track of Shawnee’s 6-foot-5 scoring machine Austin Miller.
Miller scored on a breakaway with 44 seconds to play to give Shawnee a 2-1 victory.
Shawnee is 1-0-1. Lexington is 2-1.
“They give us a great game every time,’’ Miller said of playing Lexington. “It’s usually back-and-forth. … I’m sure we’ll see them again in the tournament.’’
As the clock hit the final minute, it appeared like the match would end in a tie.
But Shawnee defender Noah Scheid lofted a high pass across midfield, which Miller headed 45-yards from the goal.
From there, it was all Miller.
Miller headed the ball ahead down the left flank, then pushed the ball past a defender to give him a one-on-one look at Lexington goalkeeper Nolan Steward.
Miller dribbled through the 18-yard box to the top of the 6-yard goalie box and pounded a low shot into the lower-left corner of the net.
That gave Shawnee the lead.
“I honestly couldn’t really see the pass,” Miller said. “The sun was blocking my eyes. But at the last second, I saw it come down. It was over the defender’s head and I hoped to put a head on it and push it past him. Then, I had a quick toe-poke past their center back and was able to find the back of the net.
“I told myself, ‘I have to finish this.’”
Miller also had the Indians’ first goal on a penalty kick.
With the two teams meeting in the regional finals the last three years, Lexington coach Peter Them is glad the teams also meet in the regular season, as well.
“Somehow, coach Quatman and I connected and it’s been great games,” Them said. “It had a tournament feel right there today. It was a great match back and forth.
“If I don’t see them in October or November (in the tournament), something’s wrong.’’
Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman said, “This is a good benchmark for our season to see where we’re at. They have great players, a great coaching staff and we respect each other enough to make this a nice game.’’
Quatman said his team learned a few things Saturday.
“We have a lot of offensive firepower and we’ve learned you can create chances and sometimes you get unlucky finishing,” Quatman said. “Today we learned how to stay patient and not get frustrated and overcommit.’’
Both teams had their offensive surges and runs. Shawnee outshot Lexington, 11-7. Lexington had the corner-kick edge, 4-3.
It also had its physical moments, both ways.
Shawnee was called for two yellow cards and Lexington was called for one.
“It’s two quality teams and we play similar styles,” Them said. “We’re both very physical and play hard. They play all the way to the end and that’s why we come over here.’’
Steward made seven saves for the Minutemen.
Shawnee goalkeeper Jack Tenwalde made four saves.
The match was scoreless at the half.
With 27:21 left to play in the match, Shawnee’s Coda Miller was tripped up in 18-yard box with the ball.
That gave the Indians a penalty kick and Miller took it from the 12-yard penalty mark.
Miller banged the PK into the upper-left corner for the goal to give Shawnee a 1-0 lead.
“I had a history going right against Lex, so I had to switch it up a little bit,” Miller said.
Lexington tied it at 1 when Alex Depperschmidt stole a ball from Shawnee 40-yards out. He dribbled in and connected on a shot from 10-yards out into the lower-left corner of the net.
That tied it at 1 with 20:15 to play.
With 8:45 to go, Lexington lined up for a corner kick out of the left corner.
While Jack Hiebel lined up for the kick, two Lexington players sandwiched Shawnee goalkeeper Tenwalde at the goal line.
Tenwalde moved to another spot and the pair sandwiched him again.
Tenwalde pushed one Lexington player, who fell over and Tenwalde was called for a yellow card. He had to leave the game for the play, which was the corner kick.
Shawnee’s Tate Bender came on in goal for the play, but Hiebel’s corner kick soared over the net and the goal line for a Shawnee goal kick.
That allowed Tenwalde to re-enter in goal.
The Shawnee defense was strong in the Indians’ 4-4-3 formation, with Noah Scheid, his brother Collin Scheid, Ethan Parlapiano and Caleb Miller.
“We held it down pretty good,” Quatman said.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.