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Flowery Branch boys win in OT
Johnson High’ Sammy Vargas (7) is cheered by teammates after his goal late in the first half of Tuesday night’s match with Flowery Branch High at Falcon Field.

FLOWERY BRANCH When the Flowery Branch boys soccer team pushed, Johnson pushed back. When the Knights looked to have stolen the momentum, Flowery Branch took it right back from them.

The end result was a 4-2 win in overtime by the Class AAA No. 6 ranked Falcons on senior night Tuesday night at Falcon Field.

The first score of what would end up being an offensively driven game, the teams combined for 44 shots on goal, came on a penalty kick by Johnny Venegas in the 19th minute.

It took Johnson the remainder of the half to answer, but answer it did with a Sammy Vargas score off a corner kick in the 39th minute.

Vargas, after Flowery Branch goalie Zach Clark punched the corner kick out, went unmarked and got the rebound, one touching it into the upper left corner of the goal.

"We are trying to understand the team philosophy," first-year Flowery Branch coach Jeremy Purdy said. "The talent is there and when we communicate we win."

Clark had nine saves on the game.

The last two goals scored in regulation came in the second half within 32 seconds of each other.

Johnson broke the 1-1 tie when Vicente Trujillo was quick to the ball after a save was mishandled by Clark.

Trujillo kicked it into an empty net to give his team a 2-1 lead.

The lead didn’t last long however as, after two Kyle Ellis throw ins moved the Falcons up the field in a hurry, Ellis threw a ball into the box right at the Falcons’ goal. Johnson goalie Alan Garcia, attempting to catch the throw in, missed it and Flowery Branch’s Will Mondy kicked it in.

Having tied the game, Flowery Branch’s offense looked invigorated and spent the better part of the second half putting pressure on Johnson’s defense and Garcia, but the Falcons were unable to score again as regulation ended in a 2-2 tie.

Garcia had nine saves on the night.

The offensive pressure of the Falcons carried over into the first overtime period and they wasted little time breaking the 2-2 tie.

Off another near perfect throw in by Ellis, David Stoker scored the tie-breaking goal.

"The benefit of having Kyle (Ellis) helped us a lot," Purdy said. "When you have someone that can consistently put you in a position to score it helps."

Johnson had a few chances to tie the game at three but Flowery Branch’s defense stepped up in the waning minutes, especially Macky Calderon who kept the ball out of his team’s goal after it shot past the Falcons’ goalie.

"Macky (Calderon) is in great position overall," Purdy said. "He’s a solid leader and steps up when he needs to."

Flowery Branch would put the nail in the coffin with 31.1 seconds remaining in the second overtime period when Stephen Brett shot the ball into an empty net on a breakaway after Garcia slid out on him.

"Johnson’s always good," Purdy said. "They are a playoff team and are always tough."

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