Whichever side of the penalty kick argument you choose in high school boys soccer, Saturday night's Division I boys championship match might still be going on without them.
Whichever side of the power rankings formula used to determined playoff seeding you choose to argue, Hamilton and Brophy met for the third time in four years at Campo Verde High School, and Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, proved worthy of the seeding.
Thanks to two sliding saves by Brophy goalkeeper Phillip Mourikes during the penalty kicks, Brophy repeated as state champions with a 1-0 victory (4-2 in PKs), but for the previous 110 minutes it was as if both sides refused to take and yield the bigger trophy.
Fast and physical play in both the midfield and defense dominated the night, with neither team able to compile more than three close-range scoring chances.
Hamilton's Gabriel Para-Munoz had the Huskies' best look with 26 minutes left in regulation but the kick sailed high. Brophy had a goal taken away in the second overtime period because the whistle blew for offsides before the shot was taken. The Huskies put pressure on Brophy during the final 10 minutes of regulation and a couple more times during the overtime periods.
That was it. The nine combined penalty kick attempts was more than both teams' combined shots on goal. The rest was a see-saw and thorough stalemate of speed, skill, physicality, cramps and injuries.
Huskies coach Nick Markette "honestly felt like we ran out of time," though cramps and the physical play took its toll on both teams.
"It wa starting to become a little war of attrition," he said. "We may have had to play the JV teams (without penalty kicks)."
It was the second time in three years the Huskies lost a championship thriller to Brophy (2011), and kids wore their emotions on their sleeves afterward.
Still, as Hamilton continues to built its already-powerful program into something more (four championship appearances, a state title and a semifinalist spot in the past five years), these Huskies set new bench marks with a 23-2 overall record and another Tempe Diablo tournament championship.
Fueled by a stellar defense, a 1-0 loss to Glendale Ironwood on Dec. 30 was the team's lone loss of the season until Saturday night, and while the latter stings most - as will the loss of several seniors in the midfield defense and goalkeeping - there's a healthy number of sophomores and juniors returning.
None of that helps soothe until crushing loss to Brophy, of which these two schools have developed important and intense on-field matches the past five years, but a coin flip could have decided this championship match with equal odds as one of these teams managing a goal against the other in the next three days.
"It was two really good teams," Markette said. "That's the way it goes."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune assistant managing editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.