NORTH RICHLAND HILLS – Brett Hames’ left foot was responsible for Midlothian winning Tuesday night. He won’t hold his foot responsible for the failed somersault celebration after the attempt.

Hames’ looping shot from about 30 yards out found the back of the net sparking a head-over-heels flip and a dog pile of players with 4:26 left in the game as the Panthers took a 3-2 lead over Euless Trinity. That score held up as the program picked up the win and became the first team sport in Midlothian history to win a 5A playoff game.

“I love my left foot to death. I’m not a lefty but I love shooting with my left,” Hames said. “Seeing that goalie not being able to reach for it was the best feeling I’ve had in a very long time.”

Hames’ late shot broke a second half stalemate that was a polar opposite of the first half. Both teams opened the game with offensive flurries that produced a seesaw affair early on.

Trinity took a lead off a throw-in that was kicked past the Panther defense. Less than 40 seconds later, Midlothian responded as Matthew Robertson tied the match with a shot off a Leevi Schwartz assist.

The advantage lasted less than a minute as Trinity reclaimed the lead with a goal that put the Panthers in a deficit yet again. The score remained in the Trojans’ favor for a little over six minutes, until Laurence Chamberlain sent Brian Robertson’s throw-in past the Trinity defense to tie the match once again. In all, the two teams scored four goals in a span of under eight minutes.

“I just think the first goal we didn’t let it discourage us at all. We knew what we had to do. We came back, we scored another goal, got down again in the next minute maybe, knew what we had to do,” Chamberlain said. “We’ve been trained for this all year. We just came back and did our job.”

The scoring bonanza ended there as both teams closed out the first half without another goal. Each team had four strong looks at the goal in the second half but both came up with timely defense to snuff out the go-ahead shot.

All that changed when Hames planted and fired over the Trinity defense for the eventual game-winner. The shot sparked the Panthers to celebration but tempers began showing as the Trojans were hit with a yellow card as time wound down after a Midlothian player was slapped in the back of the head on the sideline trying to retrieve a ball.

That penalty and strong defense ran the clock down as Trinity got two good looks at the goal with just over a minute and a half left. Both shots were stopped to help preserve the win as players from the bench tackled Hames when the final horn sounded for the second dog pile of the night.

“First playoff game, first 5A playoff game, the pressure from a whole school district of we’ve got to win a 5A playoff game that we haven’t had the chance to do. Add that to a 30-40 degree temperature drop from where they were last week and there’s a lot of things to adjust to,” coach Austin Guest said. “It was a scrap from the beginning to the end. … The guys kept their heads about them which I’m really proud of and played hard the full 80 minutes, came back and got a great finish late in the game.”

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