The Dunn boys soccer team is back in a CIF Southern Section divisional championship game, this time in Division 6.
Dennis Cole drilled home the clinching goal, Dunn goalkeeper Brima Kamara stopped two La Cañada tries and the Earwigs defeated the Spartans 4-1 in the penalty kicks phase of this Division 6 semifinal at Dunn Tuesday.
The game was scoreless after regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.
"The ball went into the right side of the net, right where I aimed it," Cole said after he scored the last goal of the game.
"I was just trying to focus on kicking the ball into the right side of the net and not focus on the (extremely loud) crowd. I knew If I focused on the crowd, I would miss (the shot)."
Peter Kargbo put the Earwigs ahead 2-1 when he converted on Dunn's second penalty kick. Kamara dove to stop the Spartans' next two tries and then Cole put in his shot to mathematically clinch it for the Earwigs.
"I was just able to guess where the ball was going," on the shots he stopped, said Kamara, a 16-year-old freshman from Sierra Leone.
"This was the first time I'd been in a penalty kicks situation in America. I had been in them before when I played in Sierra Leone. I played in Sierra Leone since I was five."
Dunn (14-1-1) won the Division 7 championship in 2015. The Earwigs will play Adelanto for the Division 6 title this year. Dunn coach Mark Geriak, who coached the 2015 Division 7 championship squad, said the Division 6 title game will likely take place Saturday in Downey.
La Cañada (14-5-6) lost a game in penalty kicks this time after upsetting top seed La Puente Nogales 5-3 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. That game was scoreless going into the penalty kicks phase.
Dunn won the Condor League championship. La Cañada took the Rio Hondo League title.
All four Dunn shooters in the penalty kicks phase Tuesday, Musa Yansaneth, Peter Kargbo, Frank Daroma and Cole, scored.
Only La Cañada's first shooter, Sam Adida, scored for the Spartans in the penalty kicks phase.
Neither team came close to scoring in overtime, but both came close to scoring in regulation.
La Cañada goalkeeper Ryan Crispi stared aghast as a Dunn shot caromed off a Spartans defender's leg. The ball, however, hit the side netting to the right of the right post.
A Dunn defender, trying to clear the ball, kicked it toward Kamara instead. Kamara got his hands on the ball, but a La Cañada attacker came flashing in. His header went just over the top post.
Late in the second half, Cole got his foot on a crossing pass deep inside the Spartans penalty box but his shot hit the right post.
Yansaneh, on defense, started a lot of effective transition attacks for Dunn but the Spartans constantly thwarted the Earwigs by massing effectively in the La Cañada penalty box.
"One of their staff scouted our quarterfinal, and they knew how we played," said Cole.
"That made it very difficult. But we have a lot of dynamic players."
Geriak said, "We were a little slow to pull the trigger today. They're a very well-organized team. You have to pull the trigger against a team like that."
The Earwigs did put in shots during the penalty kicks phase and as a result they are back in a divisional championship game.