Neither Tarig Degraffinreed nor his coach delved into deep tactical talk when trying to figure out why he's become so much more involved in the DeSales High School boys soccer team's offense the past three weeks.

Neither Tarig Degraffinreed nor his coach delved into deep tactical talk when trying to figure out why he's become so much more involved in the DeSales High School boys soccer team's offense the past three weeks.

Right now, the Stallions simply are glad the senior is another option, and Saturday, Oct. 29, he was the best when it mattered most.

Degraffinreed slipped a shot past Big Walnut goalkeeper Lukas Swysgood with 8 minutes, 45 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Stallions a 2-1 victory in a Division II district final at Westerville Central. It was the Stallions' fifth consecutive district championship.

"I just ran for the ball. I had no idea I was going to get to the goal," Degraffinreed said. "I just shot it and was able to sneak it in. It feels great. I didn't know what a golden goal (the winning goal in a sudden-death situation) was, so when everybody came rushing on the field I had no idea. I just got pile-drived by my teammates. This feeling is unreal."

Degraffinreed has scored all six of his goals this season since Oct. 13. He had three in the Stallions' 9-0 victory over Heath in the first round of the district tournament.

"He has so much speed up top, and in a game like this that's tremendously important to try and get the other team tired," DeSales coach Domenic Romanelli said. "But what won this game was heart. We outplayed them."

The Stallions (11-6-2) will play Vincent Warren or Waverly in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Logan.

The loss was the first of the year for Big Walnut (14-1-4), the district tournament's top seed.

DeSales, the second seed, took a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute on an own goal, but Big Walnut's Corey Gibson scored the equalizer four minutes later. And on it went, with a handful of contentious moments, three yellow cards and more lost chances, until Degraffinreed's goal.

"That could have gone either way," Romanelli said. "Whether or not the game was going to go to penalty kicks, I thought we pressed more than they did. I think we got them tired because we are very fit. We have no choice. We're not that deep, so we have to get the most out of everybody."