CONYERS -- Mady Carter allowing two goals in a span of four minutes was as rare as it comes for the Heritage girls soccer team. But what Carter later pulled off during penalty kicks wasn't at all surprising. Carter made two saves and added a goal of her own during the penalty kick session as Heritage outscored Flowery Branch 3-2 to win a key Region 8-AAAAA game.
The teams came in tied atop the league standings, but Heritage moved to 3-0 and grabbed the all-important one-game lead over the Falcons, who won the region last year when the teams were down a classification in Region 8-AAAA.
After two scoreless overtime periods in which just one shot on goal was taken between the teams, Carter surrendered goals to Kelsey Read and Kayla Robles, and Flowery Branch keeper Elizabeth Backmann allowed goals to Carter and Kaley Wells. Carter and Bachmann then each made a save, but Alex Lee's shot wasn't close and Heritage went up 3-2 on Ray Brown's goal. Corrie Thomas' attempt to tie things up was gobbled up by Carter, setting off a raucous celebration at Evans Memorial Stadium.
Heritage, which is ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAA at eurosportscoreboard.com, looked to beheading toward a shutout victory, leading 2-0 before the visitors from Hall County picked up two stunning goals. First, Thomas scored on a header with 8:54 left in regulation to make it a 2-1 game. A little over four minutes later, Lee booted a corner kick and Jacy Ramey headed it past Carter to tie the game at 2-2. Heritage had a pair of chances late in the second half, but shots by Abbey Dunlop and Faith Shelton were saved by Bachmann.
The Patriots went up 1-0 late in the opening half. With 4:09 to play until halftime, Victoria Shelton got room and blasted a goal past a diving Bachmann.
With 31:54 to play in the second half, Faith Shelton beat Read downfield, but Read fouled Shelton in the box. That resulted in a penalty kick and Wells scored to put Heritage up 2-0.
Twenty-three minutes later, the Falcons began their frantic comeback.
The Heritage boys completed the sweep in the nightcap as three different players scored in a 3-0 victory.
During a two-minute span in the opening half, Andre Deas and Harrison Kulp scored to put the Patriots up 2-0.
Heritage (7-1-1, 2-1 Region 8-AAAAA) made it 3-0 right before halftime on a goal by Austin Kulp.
"This third goal was super key in killing off the match," Heritage coach Brandon Stewart said. "You could feel (Flowery Branch) in their disappointment. Also, in the last few weeks we've been in this situation and couldn't get that kill-the-match-off goal and let teams hang around. This didn't happen (Friday)."
Both Heritage teams face big tests in nonregion play Tuesday when the girls host undefeated and No. 9 Lakeside-DeKalb and the boys entertain Class AAAAAA No. 10 Brookwood.