The Cougars poured in both of their goals during a 65-second span of the second half and stunned top-ranked Ankeny, 2-1, in the championship game of the Class 3A tournament for their second state title in the past four years.
The victory capped a remarkable performance by the unheralded Cougars at the Muscatine Soccer Complex.
It began Thursday with a 2-0 victory over No. 3 Iowa City West, continued Friday with a 1-0 verdict over No. 2 Bettendorf and ended Saturday with a victory over the No. 1 team that had won 31 straight matches since last year.
Ankeny was the defending state champion and the heavy favorite, but somebody forgot to tell the Cougars.
"I've got 'believe' written on my wrist right here," said Kennedy junior Tory Harman, a member of the all-tournament team. "I think that's what we all needed. We all believed. I think we're the only people that believed in us, but I think that's what kept us going."
The Cougars were ranked seventh when the three-day tournament began, but they were ranked No. 1 in the only poll that counted Saturday.
Hutcheson allowed only one goal in three games - a total of 240 minutes of soccer against the No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 teams in the state - but for awhile it looked like that one goal might doom the Cougars to second place.
Sydney Hedrick slipped a shot by a diving Hutcheson with 24:32 left in the first half, and for a long time it looked like that lone goal would stand up. Hutcheson was worried.
"A little bit," she admitted. "But at the same time we have some amazing offensive players who can always find the back of the net no matter what. And I knew there was time to get at least one in to get into overtime."
There was no need for overtime on this day, not with the Cougars capturing lightning in a bottle.
The explosion began when Annie Feltes took a free kick that headed straight for the goal. Nikkie Inskeep, the Ankeny keeper, made the initial save, but the ball got loose and there was a wild scramble with arms and legs all over the place.
In the midst of all that mayhem, Kennedy sophomore Kaela Dickerman was credited with getting the ball into the net. That tied the game, 1-1, with 18:10 left in the match and gave the Cougars new life.
About a minute later, Feltes made a long pass to Hannah Palomo that stretched the defense and gave Palomo a chance to get into position for a shot. She did just that and found the left corner for a goal with 17:05 remaining.
In the space of 65 seconds, the Cougars turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage.
"We've had the mentality this year that we're never done," said Coach Andrew McKnight, who led Kennedy to the state title in his first year as boss. "If we hang close enough, we know there are players on the team who are capable of doing special things.
"We saw that today and we saw that yesterday and we saw it the day before."
Kennedy was ranked No. 7 and was playing in the state tournament for the seventh straight year. "I guess it's just lucky No. 7," said Dickerman, who was named the captain of the Class 3A all-tournament team for her good work in three games.
Dickerman's older sister, Mckenzie, plays defense for the Cougars, and the whole family has been planning to take a trip to Disney World this August. "We were going anyway," said Kaela Dickerman, "so it's kind of lucky I can say, 'I'm going to Disney World!' "
Palomo, battling a painful knee injury, joined Hutcheson, Harman and Dickerman on the all-tournament team. She searched for the right words to express her feelings after Kennedy was the surprise winner of the 3A title.
"Our team is everything to me right now," she said. "Honestly ... passion, emotion and heart is what won that game. It happened, and I'm proud of my team."
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