Hershberger blasts OT game winner against Emporia
Collin Hershberger has been coming up clutch for Newton High School in two sports this fall — as a midfielder for the Railer boys’ soccer team and a kicker for the football team.
A 40-yard blast in the 106th minute from Hershberger off a Santiago Fernandez throw in gave the Railer soccer team a 3-2 overtime win over Emporia Thursday in the Class 5A regional semifinals at Fischer Field.
“I saw the ball coming at me and I took it off my head,” Hershberger said. “No one was really around me, so I had a go. It was going off the post all game, so I was fortunate that it went in.”
Newton started out strong, but struggled connecting passes as the game went on.
“I think we were overconfident,” Hershberger said. “We beat them early in the season and thought we had it in the bag. They came out and surprised us. We had to play our game and keep it in our hands and keeping it under control.”
Newton played the final 27 minutes a player down when Carson Ebert was ejected for an alleged dive. He had been given a yellow card in the 69th minute. Newton was given a total of four yellow cards and a red. Emporia was given three yellows.
“That was just fuel on the fire for us,” Hershberger said. “That stayed in the back of our heads as something to motivate us.”
Hershberger said he practices once a week with the football team and spends the rest of the time with the soccer team.
“The coaches are really willing to work with me,” Hershberger said. “I normally go to practices for football on Wednesday and come to soccer practice Monday and Wednesday, and go to the games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.”
A sophomore, Hershberger has hit several field goals and made most of his PATs this season and several goals for the soccer team.
“We’ve been working on it,” Hershberger said. “Ben (Schmidt) is a good holder and we have a good snapper. We’ve really been working on that. Our offense has been scoring a lot, so it’s a good deal.”
“Collin is everywhere on the field,” Newton soccer coach Scott Jantzi said. “He’s our workhorse in the middle. The ball just came to him and he hit a nice volley. From my angle, it was just a nice bend over the keeper. He spends most of the time with us, so we get to train with him. He won’t be able to train tomorrow. He’s such a great athlete. The soccer knowledge is there.”
Newton outshot Emporia 26-11, 18-10 on goal. Newton used backup goaltender Yael Aramburu, who finished with eight saves. Diego Reyes had 15 saves for Emporia, which ends the season 7-8-1.
Hector Hernandez had both goals for the Spartans. Kevin Rios had an assist.
Fernandez finished with a goal and an assist for Newton.
The Railers controlled the game for the first 10 minutes, getting off the first four shots of the game and scoring on a corner kick converted by Mikey Parga. Armando Alvarez had the assist.
A miscue by the Railer defense in failing to clear out a ball in the back allowed Hernandez to equalize on a crossing pass.
Newton held an 8-7 advantage in total shots in the first half.
Newton regained the lead in the 49th minute when the Emporia keeper stepped out of the penalty area with the ball. Fernandez nailed the direct kick.
Hernandez equalized again on a breakaway in the 61st minute.
Newton got the first two shots of overtime. One was blocked by a defender. The second was off the post. Newton had another post shot in the 90th minute. Newton outshot Emporia 4-1 in the second half of the first overtime.
Emporia got the only shot of the first half of the second overtime.
“Emporia came out with a good game plan,” Jantzi said. “They came out and had our forwards marked. Further down the field, they were marking our outside flanks. In that first half, we had a really hard time of getting rid of our defender. We had our opportunities to finish it off in regulation. We just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. In the last two days, we’ve been inside and there really isn’t an opportunity to do much inside except get a few ball touches. We’ll be able to train out here tomorrow evening and be out here ready to play Saturday.”
Newton, 11-6, will host 9-8 Andover Central at 1 p.m. Saturday in the regional finals. Newton downed Central 2-0 at home on Sept. 27. Central downed crosstown rival Andover 1-0 to advance.
“They’re a good team,” Hershberger said. “We need to come to play and get a result and make it to state.”
Newton 3, Emporia 2 OT
1. N Mikey Parga (Armando Alvarez) 4:08
2. E Hector Hernandez (Kevin Rios) 15:12
3. N Santiago Fernandez (unassisted) 48:20
4. E Hernandez (unassisted) 60:26
5. N Collin Hershberger (Fernandez) 105:57
Total shots — Emp. 7-2-(0-1)-(1-0)—11, New. 8-8-(5-4)-(0-1)—26. Shots on goal — Emp. 6-2-(0-1)-(1-0)—10, New. 7-5-(1-4)-(0-1)—18. Saves — Emp.: Diego Reyes (L) 6-4-(1-4)-(0-0)—15. New.: Yael Aramburu (W) 5-1-(0-1)-(1-0)—8. Corner kicks — Emp. 2, New. 7. Fouls — Emp. 17, New. 20. Offside — Emp. 2, New. 2. Cautions — Emp.: Hernandez 60:26, bench 60:26, Aiden Almag 66:06. New.: Trev Golubski 34:48, Fernandez 59:19, Carsen Ebert 68:57, Parga 95:01. Ejection: Ebert 78:28.