LAFAYETTE — A snow-covered field delayed Dawson's quest for another league title for a day, and a second-half deficit threatened to prolong it.
A little handiwork was required.
Jesse Isenhart scored twice, including the game-winner on a beautiful cross from Rio Sueyoshi in overtime, and the Mustangs beat Heritage Christian 3-2 on Tuesday to finish league unblemished for a second straight year.
Dawson (9-4, 6-0 2A Region 2), which moved down to 2A as part of a statewide realignment in soccer, started the season 1-4 but have since regrouped to win eight straight.
To make for a little more drama, the league-deciding game was postponed from Monday after a snowstorm layered the field with powder. Mustang players helped prep the field by grabbing shovels and clearing the debris in time for Tuesday afternoon.
"We're a team with grit," Sueyoshi said.
Needing at least a draw in the league finale to secure the 2A Region 2 title, Sam Freedman scored the equalizer in the 50th minute and the Mustangs pressed in OT to set up the winning touch.
Sueyoshi's crossing chance floated into the middle of the box in the 88th minute and fellow-junior Isenhart speared a header past Eagles keeper Robin Hopkins. The captains had nearly connected earlier in the game on what would have been dazzling goal, via an Isenhart bicycle kick.
They were confident another chance would arise, though.
"He's always in the box," Sueyoshi said of Isenhart. "He's not that tall of a player but I can trust him in the box to win most of those. And when I pick my head up, I'm always searching for him.
"It was bliss seeing that go into the back of the net."
Heritage Christian (10-3, 3-2) scored twice in the first 4:30 of the second half to take a 2-1 lead. Nagi Williams scored off a turnover 14 seconds in and Osobie Borchert chipped an expert ball over keeper Tony Aieta's head in the 45th minute.
The Mustangs recovered and controlled possession from there.
"Our mentality this year is even if we go down we do everything in our power for each other," Isenhart said. "We just go at them and we take it to them."
The league title reserves Dawson one of the 12 postseason spots in the 2A state playoffs. The Mustangs, coming into the game ranked sixth in RPI, will need a top-four spot to secure a first-round bye.
"The guys were pretty optimistic that we could make a deep playoff run and the first step is to make the playoffs, right?" Dawson coach David Criswell said. "It's huge that we wanted to make the playoffs, but they also have high hopes to go to Dick's Sporting Goods Park like the girls did."
The Mustangs' girls' team was ranked first when it won the 2A title in the spring.
The question around campus: 'What will the boys do as an encore?'
"It's always a battle with the girls in the hallway," Isenhart smirked. "Like, 'Oh we got the state title last year, what are you guys going to do this year?'
"We're definitely driven."
Brent W. New: , email@example.com and @brentwnew
Dawson 3, Heritage Christian 2 (OT)
At Dawson SchoolHeritage Christian (10-3)0202Dawson (9-4)1113
Goals (assists) —Dawson: Jesse Isenhart (Jonas Ricke) 38th minute; Heritage Christian: Nagi Williams (Detcho Williams) 41st; Heritage Christian: Osobie Borchert (Dylan Hughes) 45th; Dawson: Sam Freedman (Isenhart) 50th; Dawson: Isenhart (Rio Sueyoshi) 88th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Heritage Christian: Robin Hopkins (88-3-9); Dawson: Tony Aieta (88-2-2).