Reedley High has emerged as one of the Central Section's winningest boys soccer teams this season.
And when faced with a little adversity Tuesday afternoon, the Pirates responded like a team that wants to be the No. 1 playoff seed in Division II.
Ranked No. 7 in the section by The Bee, Reedley rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit, tying it in the 79th minute and getting the winner seconds before the whistle to end the first of two 10-minute overtime periods of a 4-3 North Yosemite League victory over host Sunnyside.
"This gives us power as a team," said midfielder Jose Corona, who scored during the second-half rally. "It shows even if we're down, we can still win."
Reedley (13-3-1, 5-0) entered on a nine-game unbeaten streak, but found itself down in the 3rd minute when Larry Valencia headed in a feed from Alexis Jimenez.
Sunnyside (7-5-2, 2-3) made it 2-0 in the 19th minute on a Jimenez goal.
The Pirates broke through in the 22nd minute on the first of Jose Vargas' two goals, only to see the Wildcats answer 2 minutes later when Valencia again found the back of the net.
It was a frustrating 24-minute stretch that left first-year Reedley coach Miguel Ruiz searching for the proper motivational button to push at halftime.
"Because we've been winning, I think they lost their humbleness," Ruiz said. "It's just going to get harder from here. Teams are more and more aware of us. But that's all right, as long as we keep working hard."
The Pirates did exactly that in the second half.
They closed the gap to 3-2 in the 51st minute on Corona's goal and controlled most of the second-half action through Vargas' game-tying shot, which came just before a couple of minutes of stoppage time.
Reedley took its first lead in overtime when Anthony Velarde sliced a left-footed indirect kick off a penalty just inside the left goal post.
"I had like four of those and this one I hit perfect," Velarde said. "I got lucky that it went in the corner."
The Pirates, who last won a section title in 2010, are among five or six teams jockeying to be the No. 1 seed in D-II. El Diamante, Golden West, East Bakersfield, defending champion Golden Valley and reigning runner-up Monache also figured to remain in the mix.
"We're playing good soccer," Velarde said. "I think we can take Valley. We've just got to keep pushing."
Sunnyside gave up the tying goal after losing standout marking back Carlos Rodriguez to a hamstring injury at about the 70-minute mark.
The Wildcats had a crack at an unprotected goal in stoppage time, but Ernesto Casillas' shot went over the cage.
"We left at least three goals in front of the net," Sunnyside coach Michael Sosa said. "We kept them in the game. It was a little unlucky on our part."
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, email@example.com or @NickG_FB on Twitter.