A heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Tinley Park on Thursday put Shepard in a tough spot in the South Suburban Red race, needing a win Monday over South Suburban Blue power Bremen, which entered unbeaten in conference play, to keep title hopes alive.
Trailing 1-0, the Astros were less than five minutes away from being eliminated from the Red race when they came up with a little magic.
Ivan Magana scored with 4:53 left to force overtime and Shepard won the shootout by a 4-3 count over Bremen in Palos Heights.
With Reavis’ loss to Lemont on Monday, the Astros (8-7-1, 7-3) can win a share of their first Red title with a victory Tuesday over Evergreen Park. Reavis has already clinched at least a share of its first Red crown.
“It’s really exciting to win this,” Shepard’s Will Somerfield said. “It’s the most exciting moment of the year. All of us, especially the seniors, want to win this conference title.”
Somerfield scored the clinching goal in the shootout, going top shelf with a shot that went off the hands of leaping Bremen goalie Manny Esparza and in.
“I was so nervous,” Somerfield said. “I just had to focus and just shoot.”
Fuad Abuzerr made two saves in the shootout, including a stop on Esparza in the fifth round to set the stage for Somerfield.
Magana, Colm McGhee and Edgar Madrigal also scored in the shootout for Shepard.
Magana tied the match, corralling a throw-in from Somerfield and quickly turning and firing a shot inside the right post and in.
“As soon as I took the shot, I knew it was going in,” Magana said. “I yelled ‘Goal’ before it even went in.”
Bremen (15-4-1, 8-1), which needs victories this week over Oak Lawn and Tinley Park to win the Blue outright, grabbed the lead on a goal from Jesus Guzman off a corner kick in the 22nd minute.
The Braves had many chances for insurance, but could not find the net again as Abuzerr made eight saves.
“We had some point blank chances that we didn’t put away,” Bremen coach Steve Granat said. “All the credit to Shepard. They hung around and pulled it off.”