Jordan Fletcher spoke softly but carried a clutch foot.
You "never hear a word out of him," according to Huskies coach Nick Markette, but talk is cheap to the Hamilton junior, but on the verge of going to penalty kicks in Saturday's Division I boys soccer state championship match, everyone saw him loud and clear.
After nearly 110 minutes of physical play and momentum swings between the top two teams in Div. I, Fletcher re-directed a pass in front for a second time in the match.
The first tied the score at 1-1 early in the second half. The second was a "golden goal" during sudden-death overtime that gave the Huskies a 2-1 victory against defending-champion Brophy at Campo Verde High School.
It was the school's first boys soccer state championship and a long 30 seconds on top of nearly 25 teammates' shoulders.
"That was scary," he said of the in-air hoist. "I'm not a very good person with heights."
He acknowledged the possibilty that goal may have taken the Huskies to new heights, so it was worth it to him and to the Huskies, who lost the past two state championship matches to Brophy (2011) and Corona del Sol (2010).
"It's all for the seniors," Fletcher said. "We live and die for them."
It may have been tough to top the Division I girls championship game that went to penalty kicks immediately before this soccer finale, but these two teams tried.
Brophy dominated the first half with scoring chances and possession, and Riggs Lennon, as he has all season, cashed in off a nifty feed from Tyler McGehee to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead they'd keep at halftime.
The Huskies missed a couple chances late in the first half, but flew out of intermission and controlled the second half early and often. Luis Manta had a chance two minutes into the half, Fletcher had a header that missed the corner of the goal by a foot and the Huskies were livid when they felt a hand-ball in the box wasn't called.
After knocking on the Broncos' end for 30 minutes, the door opened. After Brophy goalie Nate Sundermeier made a terrific diving save, the ball went out of bounds. Fletcher re-directed the ensuing corner kick in the middle of the field from 15 yards out and there was little Sundermeier could do against a point-blank shot and it was 1-1 with 11 minutes left in regulation.
"If you're always lurking around, it'll come you way," Markette said.
"If you let a team have hope you're asking for trouble," Brophy coach Marc Kelly said.
Both teams traded chances in the two overtimes, and the first 5-minute sudden-death session.
Asked about the proverbial "next level" taken by the program with this win, Markette shrugged as he stood on the side while his players celebrated.
"One win doesn't make a trend."
A minute later, he slightly relented:
"I can say we're now a consistently good program."
Fletcher didn't see action his freshman and sophomore years, so all the talk about winning the biggest won fell on deaf ears to him.
He didn't give a speech, but he got the loudest point across. Twice.
"All that matters is winning," he said. "As long as you win talk doesn't matter."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.