• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

Jackets beat district rival Franklin County

BRANDON CROMWELL collides with Franklin County's Matthew Melton in the first half of their district matchup on Aug. 31. (Photo by Bill Caine)

The Woodford County High School boys' soccer team shut out the Franklin County Flyers 4-0 at Community Stadium Aug. 31. The Jackets played aggressively from the opening whistle and were physically dominant in the district matchup. Marcus Watson scored the first goal of the game off a deflection that left the keeper out of position. "The first half was a bit inefficient for us," said Coach Fonyam Atanga. "We talked about getting the energy up, and the guys responded well. They responded well in the second half with the three goals." Drew Blaydes scored the second goal of the contest on a header from a corner kick by Chris Phelps. Blaydes sent the ball just past the leaping keeper to make the score 2-0. "Drew Blaydes at midfield was really good tonight," said Atanga. "Gavin Nicholson is one of those kids that is steady, and I always know what to expect from him. Brandon Cromwell was tough out there tonight." Watson struck again after a terrific collision on the left side of the net with a Flyer defender. Watson's kick carried over the keeper's head for a 3-0 lead. Phelps scored the final goal of the game on an impressive strike past the keeper. Phelps was able to control a ball that was deflected near him that he turned into a brilliant chance on net. "The team is growing on me," said Atanga. "It's incredible when you lose seniors, and new players come in that do not have the same experience step up and make plays out here and make the most of the playing time. They are coping with change as a unit. I ask a lot of my players, and they are responding." Chris Ramirez was in net for the Jackets and had a clean sheet. The Jackets will host Anderson County Thursday night. Lexington Catholic The Jackets were defeated 4-1 at Lexington Catholic Tuesday night. The first half was where the Knights did most of their damage. After a quick goal in the first 10 minutes, the Knights followed that up with a long kick for a goal that just sailed past keeper Chris Ramirez's fingertips. Adding to the pain was Chris Jackson being injured on the play that led to the second goal. Tyler Kenney scored the third goal of the game for the Knights with a long bending kick from the 25-yard line over the head of a stretched-out Chris Ramirez. "I know this sounds strange after a loss, but I am extremely proud of how my team fought tonight," said Atanga. "It was a gritty performance, and a tough game played. We had some calls that were missed, and it directly led to goals against us. Give Lexington Catholic credit - they are a very good team, but it was a tough night out here." The second half began with a quick score by the Knights that had the Jackets on their heels again. Woodford scored its only goal midway through the second half on Brandon Cromwell's header past goalkeeper Ian Rothbaur. The game was physical, and at least five yellow cards were handed out over the course of 80 minutes. The Jackets began to put pressure on the Knights in the last 20 minutes of play but were unable to get any solid chances. "We will continue to be a team that fights for every ball and tries to make a play," said Atanga. "The guys battled tonight, and I do not doubt that they will do the same for our next game Thursday night." The Jackets host Anderson County Thursday night at 7:15.

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