It was all in the elevation, so said William DeBarge.
He was the one who rose above the crowd in front of the Chattanooga Christian goal Thursday and headed in Kyle Holley's lob from out of bounds in sudden-death overtime, lifting Notre Dame to a 1-victory in the Region 4-A/AA high school soccer championship match at Notre Dame.
The Irish (12-7-1) will host Boyd-Buchanan in a state sectional Saturday afternoon. CCS (15-5-1) will play at Region 3 champion East Hamilton at 5. Sectional winners will advance to the state tournament during next week's Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.
The meeting was the third between the teams this season, and everything from corner kicks to direct kicks to shots on goal Thursday were about as even as their 1-1 series record coming in -- one of those 1-0 and the other an Irish victory on penalty kicks in the District 7-A/AA final. And the score stayed even until the 108th minute.
"In our team meetings we pretty much talk about things we think might work, but they know us and we know them," Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. "You just have to work and keep battling. You try things, but there's not really a lot you can do. We just happen to get one to go.
"We had definitely had some good chances earlier -- two or three close calls -- but they did, too. That's the tough part of the game."
CCS coach Shawn Brower said he recalled three good chances his team had to score, but he wasn't going to dwell on them.
"Somebody needed help with a break, and they got one," Brower said. "We rise and fall together. We're ready to go on to the next one."
DeBarge gave credit to Holley on the throw-in.
"Kyle always does a good job," DeBarge said. "A great job, actually. We've worked hard and deserve this. They're a real good team. I know they work hard, too."
Keeper Tim Barnes gets credit for the shutout, but Schermerhorn recognized he had plenty of help.
"I thought we defended really well," Schermerhorn said. "Our goalkeeper and fullbacks all played really well."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.