CHATHAM, NJ - There is American football, European football and just plain soccer.
It really doesn't matter what the sport is called, Morristown senior Eugene Hayes has shown he can play it.
A football player for Morristown until this year, the Colonials striker scored the first two goals of his boys soccer career, the second in overtime to give his team a 2-1 victory over Chatham on Wednesday at Cougar Field.
"This is actually my first year playing with the team," said Hayes, who played wide receiver on the football team last year. "I used to play (soccer) with my friends a lot. This is my first year of organized soccer. I switched because football wasn't really fun anymore."
When his teammates tried to give him a Gatorade shower of ice, Hayes was out of reach in a flash, remaining dry.
"He's way too fast for them," Morristown coach Brian Kiernan said.
Chatham (0-2) took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Ryan Chase four minutes into the second half before lightning delayed the game for nearly an hour with 29:15 showing on the clock.
When play resumed, the Colonials tied the game (see video below) with 4:41 left in regulation, forcing the overtime. Tim Ganning made a throw-in for Morristown into the middle and Hayes bolted forward to head the bouncing ball into the net.
"He was playing around with them and telling them he was definitely going to come out for the team and we were excited to hear about that," Kiernan said. "I can't just say he's raw because he has skills, too. He's not just athletic. He's learning the game a little bit. The first day of preseason he pretty much made the team. It was a matter of time."
That time came in the third game of the season for Morristown (3-0) when Hayes finally broke through. His second goal was a sudden-death winner with 6:02 left in the first overtime.
"We played against Orange on Monday and he had five shots on goal and the entire bench was cheering him on to score," Kiernan said. "It didn't go in. He took a PK (penalty kick) and the goalie blocked it. When we tied the game before, we talked just before overtime started and I said to him, hey, you got the first one out of your system. The jitters are gone and now they're going to come. The goals are going to come. I didn't expect ti to come this soon, but it did."
Hayes didn't need to huddle up and run a route to make his big impact in overtime. He just reacted to the situation.
"We needed to win, so I kicked it in," Hayes said. "I saw it coming, so I hit it.
Eugene Hayes scores his first varsity goal by heading in a throw-in by Tim Ganning to tie the game with 4:41 left in regulation, forcing overtime