QUINCY -- The ball probably should have rolled over the end line for a goal kick, but Jaeden Smith had a different idea.
The Quincy High School senior forward collected the ball before it could go out of bounds. With a Belleville East player draped on him, Smith made a move that led to a foul against the Lancers' defender moments later, and the Blue Devils were awarded a penalty kick with a little more than three minutes remaining in regulation play.
Smith buried the spot kick into the lower left corner of the goal, sealing a 2-1 victory during Monday night's soccer game at Flinn Stadium.
"I was pretty calm taking that penalty," said Smith, who has eight goals in four games for QHS. "I'm always calm when I take a penalty. You just go up there and put it in the right spot."
It wasn't the only time Smith put a ball in the right place against the Lancers (4-2).
QHS (4-0) had more scoring chances in a scoreless first half, but Belleville East had two in the first five minutes of the second half. The second chance resulted in a goal when forward Alex Maxiam took a pass from Lucas Framsted and slotted a low shot past QHS goalkeeper Jake Happel from 15 yards out with 35 minutes to play.
The Blue Devils answered by pushing the ball to the wings for crossing chances, and they received a corner kick seven minutes later. Smith took the kick from the right side and found senior forward Robby Phillips, who headed it past Nick Hayes to tie the game.
"He gifted that to me," Phillips said. "I couldn't have asked him to put that in a better spot. That was a really good ball."
It put a spark back in the Blue Devils.
"I had my head down a little bit and saw some of my teammates were down, too," Smith said. "I just wanted to pick my team up a little bit."
QHS continued to put pressure on Belleville East after the tying goal and had a chance to take a lead on a low shot with six minutes remaining that was saved. The Blue Devils registered eight shots in the second half and outshot the Lancers 14-3.
The two most important plays, however, were created by Smith.
"(Smith's) got an ability and guts to take kids on, and that's what we need out of a wing-forward," QHS coach Ron Bridal said. "He's got the ability to do that on a consistent basis, and that's what we need out of him."
Quincy High School 2, Belleville East 1
14 Shots 3
2 Saves 7
5 Corners 1
1 Offsides 1
9 Fouls 15
Belleville East 0 1--1
Quincy 0 2--2
B--Alex Maxiam (Lucas Framsted), 45:00
Q--Robby Phillips (Jaeden Smith), 52:00
Q--Smith (penalty kick), 77:00