The thirty seconds left on the clock did little to rush Mitch Boege. Blaine's senior forward waited patiently in front of the goal, hoping for a chance to score before the end of the first half.
He passed on a chance to recycle his action toward the net while Jeremiah Strand juggled around defenders. The patience paid off, as Boege found Strand's cross just in time to convert the goal and put the Bengals in the lead en route to a 3-1 victory over Bloomington Jefferson in the boys' soccer Class 2A state semifinals Monday at the Metrodome.
"That was the game-changer," Boege said. "That switched the whole mood. It's nice to get that before the half."
The goal, with 20 seconds left in the half, gave Blaine a 2-1 lead and completed a physical first half. The aggressive play led to each team being penalized in the box and being awarded penalty kicks.
Bloomington Jefferson got the first penalty kick, with Nicholas Mhiripiri scoring the game's first goal.
The 1-0 edge held up for slightly more than a minute, when the Jaguars committed a foul in the box. The Bengals' Colton Nelson converted on his penalty kick to negate the Jefferson advantage.
The Bengals followed Boege's late first-half goal with T.J. Soehn's insurance goal in the 52nd minute.
"We expected a very physical battle," Soehn said, "but I didn't expect two penalties [kicks]."