By Chuck Reherman
Coming up big.
Yukon needed a big play to pull off an early season upset and it came from a freshman.
Not once, but twice.
Freshman goal keeper Cade Allen made two huge saves in a shootout and lifted the Millers to a 2-1 upset or Norman North in the season and Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Miller Field.
It was the first time in more than a dozen years that the Millers have pulled a win over Norman North. And, it was the first time that both the Millers and Millerettes have beaten Norman North teams on the same night. The Millerettes also won 2-1 in a shootout.
The Millers frustrated Norman North all night with their style of play and led in the game in the second half before the Timberwolves knotted the score.
Yukon won 3-2 in the shootout with Allen saving two and the fifth going wide of the mark.
“Kaden came up big when it mattered, big saves,” Miller head coach Neil Hilton said. “The coaches and the players were very excited to get the win,” he added. They played great and worked really hard. I only used 13 guys but got the job done.”
The match was tied 1-1 after 80 minutes and went to the shootout. North scored on their first quick, but Colton Humphries countered to make it 1-1. NNHS scored on their second, but Zach Snow scored to tie it 2-2.
Allen stopped North’s third shot and their fourth went wide of the goal. Brandon Noreen scored to give the Millers a 3-2 lead after four shots.
On North’s fifth try, the ball went to Allen’s left, he dove, got his hands on it and deflected it away from the net. YHS players spilled onto the field to celebrate the victory.
The Millers had taken the initial lead in the match in the 65th minute when Snow beat the keeper with a shot to the upper corner of the net.
North did tie the match seven minutes later when the Millers were whistled for a foul inside the goal box. Norman North scored on the penalty kick to tie the match 1-1.
“Norman North is a very talented team, we had a game plan and thankfully it paid off,” Hilton said. “We played the game at our pace which frustrated Norman North. The guys really bought into the plan and carried it out perfectly defending great and always looking dangerous going forward with Zach leading the line on his own didn’t stop working for 80 minutes.
“The win gives us confidence of course beating a good team but the guys have to understand that has to be our level consistently going into next week,” he said. “I think it just gives them confidence we can compete with anybody if we do things the right way and play to our strengths.”
The Millers have a pair of tough road games with week, traveling to Moore on Tuesday and to Norman on Friday for COAC contests. Both matches will start at 8 p.m.
YHS is looking for this season opening win to give the team the spark it needed following a 1-1-4 pre-season.
“Hopefully we can take the same attitude on the road and fear nobody and compete to the best of our ability,” Hillton said. “I’m sure they will be tight games that come down to either mistakes or moments of brilliance. We expect every game to be tough moving forward now. We had a really good practice this week were I pushed them beyond the limit and I think it made a breakthrough to our guys mentality that they can push through adversity.
“Hopefully we show that next week on the road.”
By Chuck Reherman