With one swift and heavy swipe of his left foot Monday night, Favian Herrera wrote the latest chapter in the Prep-South rivalry.
One of the championship variety.
The Omaha South senior put boot to ball from about 20 yards out, perfectly placing a laser into the back of the net as the Class A No. 2 Packers beat top-ranked Omaha Creighton Prep 1-0 in overtime for the Metro Conference tournament boys title, giving the program its first Metro championship.
An estimated 1,500 fans at Buell Stadium were treated to a game that some were already calling a classic minutes after the final horn.
“An absolutely wonderful high school game,” Prep co-coach Tom Hoover said. “This is the type of game you come to expect in Prep versus South.”
After the Class A heavyweights used the first 30 minutes to establish themselves into the game, things heated up late in the first half and continued through a scoreless second half and first overtime.
Prep had numerous quality opportunities during that span, narrowly missing on a few and having even more stymied by South keeper Sayeg Moreno.
“He was phenomenal,” Hoover said. “If we didn’t know his name before tonight, we do now.”
After another one of those near misses for Prep, this one in the first few minutes of overtime, South’s counter attack eventually yielded a foul in a dangerous spot.
Packers coach Joe Maass said there was a play that was called on the set piece from just outside 20 yards.
But, as Herrera puts it, things opened up in front of him.
“He saw the gap, though,” Maass said.
Defenders followed South’s runners, leaving room for Herrera to strike.
“I saw the opportunity and I took it,” Herrera said. “It was a wide open angle.”
The blast beat Prep keeper Connor Tingstad’s diving attempt and set off a wild celebration by the Packers. But it had nothing on the one they conducted after the final horn.
“Another building block,” Maass said of the Metro crown. “I guess you could say we’re over that Metro championship hump.”
And it came against the team that South has had the most recent history with. The Packers beat Prep in the 2010 state semifinals before the Junior Jays returned the favor each of the last two seasons on the biggest stage.
Did that make things that much sweeter Monday for South?
“We don’t think we’re superior to them or anything,” Herrera said. “We respect them. But we’re going to come like this every time we play them. This gives us even more confidence.”
Omaha Creighton Prep (9-1) ........................... 0 0 0 0—0
Omaha South (12-0) ........................... 0 0 0 1—1
Goals: OS, Favian Herrera.
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