It was all a matter of perspective Saturday night as Brea-Olinda High School and Central tied, 2-2, for the Southern Section 2-A boys' soccer championship at Gahr High School.
Manny Toledo, Brea coach, said it was a moral victory, considering the Wildcats had trailed, 2-0, early in the second half.
"We've been a second-half team all season," he said. "But we had never come back from being two goals behind. They showed a lot of guts coming back. I'm not disappointed at all by the tie. We entered the playoffs as the No.1 team, and I think we proved we are No. 1 by coming back."
But then, there were the tired eyes of Mike Oziminski, Brea forward.
"Right now this feels like a consolation to a solo championship," he said.
Oziminski's perception of the game came down to one shot, and one hard line that he thought was curved.
It happened with about two minutes left in regulation and the scored tied, 2-2. Oziminski drove down the left side of the field and took a shot from about 20 feet. The shot caromed off the inside of the lower-left goal post and rolled across the length of goal. The ball never crossed the plane necessary to count as a score.
Two minutes later, regulation was over, and after 20 minutes of nervously played overtime, there were co-champions.
Oziminski's near-goal reminded him of a game against La Quinta, in which he shot, watched the ball hit a post and roll in for a score.
The difference was the goal posts at La Quinta are rounded. At Gahr, the posts are a flat piece of wood. No curves, no rolls, no outright championship.
"When I saw it hit the post, I froze. I thought for sure it was in," he said. "But this didn't have the curve of the other post against La Quinta. These were straight and didn't give."
Not only did Oziminski freeze, so did the entire Wildcat team, as did the Central players.
"If one of my forwards would have had the sense to follow that shot, he could have put it in the back of the net," Toledo said. "But everyone just watched the shot."
After a scoreless first half, Central scored two goals early in the second half.
Carlos Dorantes dribbled the ball between two defenders, avoided being tripped by a third and made a shot from 20 feet out in the lower-right corner of the goal for the game's first score at 53:17.
Five minutes later, Jose Ramirez scored to give Central what seemed to be a safe 2-0 lead.
But, as Brea assistant coach Joe Toledo put it, "We all got like rats who were cornered. We just came out fighting."
Less than a minute after Central's second goal, Brea's Robert Schueppert scored to cut the lead in half, 2-1.
The Wildcats received a free kick opportunity when Oziminski was tripped inside the penalty box at the 71:24 mark.
Jeff Gordon converted the kick, and the score was tied.