• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

WCHS boys’ soccer wins 2-1 thriller over Scott County

The Woodford County High School boys' soccer team won its third game in a row Thursday, Aug. 24 with a 2-1 win at home over Scott County. The game was physical from start to finish with both teams hoping their aggressive play would yield an advantage. The Jackets were seemingly in control for most of the first half, but missed opportunities led to a 1-1 tie at halftime. “I think our guys did well with creating chances, but we were wasteful once again,” said WCHS Coach Fonyam Atanga. “They had one shot against us in the half and scored, and we took eight attempts and scored once. Our guys competed hard, and that showed tonight.” The lone goal in the second half was by WCHS senior Chris Phelps on an assist from fellow senior Brandon Cromwell. The Jackets defense was stingy and kept the Cardinals from getting quality looks at the goal for most of the second half. The Cardinals did manage to have an indirect kick near the goal and a pair of corner kicks late, but the Jackets held on for the win. “This was a very physical game tonight, and I am proud that our guys stayed composed,” said Atanga. “It's easy to lose your cool, so I am pleased with how we handled that. We have been able to win a couple of close games during the start of the season, and this team is starting to believe in themselves.” The Jackets beat Boyle County at home, 7-3, Tuesday, Aug. 22. The Jackets outshot the Rebels 10-3 in the first half but trailed 2-1 at halftime. The Jackets used a barrage of shots to take the lead and run away with the game late in the second half. “We had an excellent second half,” said Atanga. “ The first half, I thought we were good, but we were very wasteful with our opportunities. “I'll speak to my team about being efficient with the ball, but honestly I was pleased with their positivity in this game. They could have been frustrated in the locker room at halftime, but they kept creating chances and were able to execute in the second half. WCHS sophomore Hunter Penn scored a goal in the first three minutes of the contest that was taken away for a handball violation on Woodford County. A few moments later, BCHS senior Ryan Henry stole the ball at midfield and beat the Jacket defenders down the field for the goal to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead. Cromwell tied the game at 1-1 midway through the first half on a pretty assist by WCHS junior Braden Reister. With nine minutes to play in the first half, the Rebels regained the lead when sophomore Caden Ferrell beat WCHS junior goalkeeper Conner Walsh to a deflected shot and scooted the ball by the keeper. “Our defensive unit just needs to continue to talk as a group, and we can stop teams from getting good chances,” said WCHS senior Gavin Nicholson. “I think this group will only continue to improve and hopefully shut down our opponents.” In the 12th minute of the second half, Penn scored on a rocket from the 20-yard line to tie the game at 2-2. Penn scored again moments later to give the Jackets a 3-2 lead and much-needed momentum. The intensity on the field turned up a notch in the second half. The game became much more physical with big collisions taking place on both sides of the pitch. Cromwell added to the Jackets' lead when he dribbled by the keeper to give Woodford a 4-2 lead. The Rebels cut its deficit to one after a goal by BCHS senior Caleb Jackson. The ball rattled between players in front of the goal, but Jackson snuck a shot by Walsh for the goal. The Rebels' momentum did not last long though. WCHS sophomore Henry Albor scored moments later to give the Jackets a 5-3 lead. Phelps scored on a penalty kick late in the half after being dragged to the ground by the keeper on the previous play. Cromwell scored the final goal of the game with three minutes to play on a cross from Phelps. “I think we got off to a slow start in the first half, but we regained our focus and managed to get the job done,” said Cromwell. “We are coming off an emotional win against Dunbar, and I think Boyle County surprised us at first and we had to gather ourselves. If we play to the level we are capable of, ...we shouldn't have slow starts. It's something we are working on.”

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