LAYTON — Of course it went to penalty kicks.

The Layton Lancers and Davis Darts faced off for the first time this season Thursday afternoon, in what could only be described as a showdown between heavyweights (welterweights might actually be more accurate).

“I really wanted this for us. I think we deserve it.” — Layton junior Hannah Roe

Entering competition, the Darts and Lancers were a combined 11-1 on the year, with both teams undefeated in Region 1 play (Layton had the only loss by either side, a 2-1 setback against Viewmont in the season opener).

Both teams were ranked in the top 5 in the 6A classification, per the Deseret News — Davis at No. 2 and Layton at No. 4 — and both boasted top 5 scoring offenses and defenses, meaning they’ve scored a lot of goals and allowed very few.

Given their collective early season success, and the fact that the winner Thursday would claim sole possession of first place in Region 1, it made sense that the game might not be decided in regulation.

After 80 minutes of regulation, there wasn’t a winner. Nor was there after two 10 minute overtime periods. No, the game between the Darts and Lancers just had to be decided by penalty kicks.

The Lancers were confident heading into PKs, at least as confident as they could be after practicing penalty kicks every day in practice, junior Hannah Roe said.

All that practice paid off as Layton defeated Davis 3-3 (4-3 on penalty kicks).

“I really wanted this for us,” said Roe.” I think we deserve it.”

It was Roe who kicked the game-winner, a goal sandwiched in between misses by Davis’ Ella McQueen and Belle Mark.

“Honestly, I just thought, ‘I have to get this,’” Roe explained. “I put my heart into it.”

Heart was on display from both sides all game long, in what proved a fiercely contested contest, one that often felt as though three or more games were pressed into one.

“The flow of the game was really back and forth,” Layton junior Erin Bailey said.

Early on, the game belonged to Davis. The Darts took a 1-0 lead eight minutes in on a goal by sophomore Olivia Flint. Davis simply looked more energized than Layton, more in command of the action.

That began to shift shortly after Flint’s score, though, as Bailey began to make her mark on the game. She, and teammate Kaitlyn Richins, had been given something of a talking to by Lancers’ head coach Tara Ferrin on the Layton sideline, after a slow start by both. The talk had the desired effect.

Twelve minutes in, Layton got on the scoreboard via a goal by senior Brooklyn Pritchett, assisted by Bailey. Ten minutes after that, Bailey scored herself, and eight minutes later, she did so again, after drawing a penalty kick.

“We weren’t working hard enough and we were in our heads,” said Bailey. “(Coach Ferrin) gave us a little knock, told us to go, and that is when we kicked it into another gear and got going.”

All three goals came on Layton counter attacks, attacks that were spurred by simple play, Bailey explained.

“We played the simple ball,” she said. “That is what happened. In the second part of the first half we started playing simple and that is when we had that success. Once we started moving the ball around and sending it up, we started having those opportunities.”

The game shifted again, though, in the second half. Davis clamped down defensively — prior to Thursday’s showdown, the Darts had allowed only three goals total in six games played — and in the 63rd minute senior Grace Nicol cut the Layton lead in half with a goal.

Then, with under a minute remaining in regulation, Davis struck again, this time courtesy of senior Alizabeth Arevalo.

The last-second goal struck at the heart of the Lancers — “I fainted a little bit,” said Roe — but they managed to hold on through both overtime periods and then made good during penalty kicks.

“Once we got that third goal scored on us we knew we had to put it into a different gear,” said Bailey. “We knew we couldn’t get scored on again. If we got scored on in overtime, it was over. We just knew that we had to play our game. We’ve learned that in games like this. When we try to stall, they counter and capitalize on that. We just had to keep playing our game and pushing forward, keep cheering each other on and be positive. The best quality of our team is we have heart. We’ll push through no matter what and we’ve shown that this season.”

And they did so again Thursday at Layton High School.