HUDSON — In the 1986 hit movie "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off," the mantra "Save Ferris" seemed to show up everywhere.
The Hudson boys soccer team didn’t need to "Save Ferris" on a cold, wet, windy Saturday night.
Instead, Ferris saved the Explorers.
Fourth-seeded Hudson advanced to Division I district play after earning a dramatic 1-0 double-overtime victory over fifth-seeded Shaker Heights. The Solon Division I sectional title game took place at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Explorers are set to visit top-seeded Brecksville-Broadview Heights in a district semifinal contest Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Bees, who advanced with a 3-0 victory over Bainbridge Township Kenston, defeated Hudson 3-2 earlier in the season.
The Explorers (10-6-2) got their coveted rematch with their Suburban League National Conference rivals, thanks to sophomore defender Braden Ferris.
Senior forward Ryan Sarkisian played the ball to Ferris on the right side. Standing inches away from the sideline, Ferris dribbled the ball toward the flag and then kicked the ball into the center of the field.
The ball wound up hitting the post and bouncing past the goal line and into the net with 11 minutes, 3 seconds left in the second overtime period.
"I was just looking to find someone on the back post," Ferris said. "It ended up drifting a little too far right. It was amazing."
Due to windy and cold weather, which, at times, featured heavy rain, Hudson, normally a team that plays a possession-oriented attack that features short passes on the turf, opted for long through balls and counterattacks.
"He (Ferris) had one earlier in the second half that was a beautiful ball that (sophomore forward) Caleb Junko got and it just squirted wide," Knapp said. "I told the guys, the crosses have to be inward-based. You have to skip them in with a lot of juice on them.
"I think that’s what happened with Braden. He just tried to hit it as hard as he could. He happened to hit it ... not in the right direction."
Ferris admitted his shot was supposed to be a pass. One way or another, if you get that deep in the opposing defense’s territory and boot a cross toward the goal, the opponent will be in a precarious position.
"When you’re creating chances on the flanks and your serving balls in, that’s always a byproduct of that," Knapp said. "He (Ferris) put it into the box in a dangerous position with pace and good things happened."
Prior to the goal, both teams played a spirited chess match with each other that looked like it was going to end in a stalemate prior to penalty kicks.
Sophomore midfielder Ben Hallis had a couple of first-half shots go just wide of the goal for the Explorers and junior midfielder Owen Dollins was robbed of a goal by Red Raiders’ goalkeeper Jeff Sauerland.
Shaker (10-4-4) also had some shots go just wide of the goal. Hudson had a 5-3 advantage in both shots on goal and corner kicks.
"There was a 20-minute stretch where maybe Shaker had the better of us," Knapp said. "For the rest of the 60-plus minutes, we were deserving of getting a goal. I think we created more dangerous chances."
Hudson won’t go to Brecksville lacking the ability to stand tall with stronger teams. A sectional final in boys soccer doesn’t usually feature squads that have won as many games as the Explorers and Red Raiders did.
"That tells you the caliber of our district," Knapp said. "There’s nothing like it. You have a four seed and a five seed and that’s two really good teams that could have been one, two seeds in other districts."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.