MOORESBORO - Daniel Cortez has come up clutch for the Buckin’ Elks all season.
Cortez came up big once again Wednesday night, scoring the game-winning goal to lead Elkin to a 3-2 victory over Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy in the Sweet 16 of the 1A state playoffs.
With the game tied 2-2 late in the second half, Cortez found the back of the net on a direct kick to give the Elks the thrilling 3-2 victory to punch their ticket in the Elite 8.
Drew Shinkle and Erick Gonzales scored goals for Elkin, who overcame an own-goal that tied the game late to set up Cortez’ heroics.
Elkin advances to the West Regional Final, where they will host wild card Hendersonville Saturday at Grissom Stadium.
The Bearcats have rolled through the playoff bracket as a wild card team from the Western Highlands Conference. Hendersonville upset Murphy (2-0) and Highlands (4-2), the No.1 and 2 seeds from the Smoky Mountain Conference, to advance to the Elite 8.
The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.
To download the full 1A bracket, go to nchsaa.org.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.