The win was “hard-fought”, Houston County Head Coach Jason Kirk said. His squad also improved to 6-0-0 in 1-AAAA while Northside fell to 2-8-0, 0-4-0. It was also the second time this year that the Bears have beaten the Eagles (9-0 the first time). “This was a much tougher win than the final score indicated,” said Kirk. “Northside played with a lot of heart."
In fact, added Kirk, the Eagles held the Bears off the scoreboard until the 10-minute mark in the first half. That’s when senior defensive back Braden Anderson “floated a long diagonal ball onto the lead foot of streaking senior striker Patrick Braxton who took a settling touch and then buried the shot.
“With the defense focused on the HoCo forwards, Anderson was able to get into the box a few minutes later and finish on a rebound for his second career goal and second in the last two games,” Kirk said, adding that the final goal of the half came on an “exceptional” Drew Berhman free kick from 25 yards that curled over the wall to find "upper ninety".
“The second half was freshman Steven's Moore's personal ‘coming out party’”, Kirk said, “as he seemed constantly dangerous throughout the 40 minutes. He started the scoring with a terrific assist on a ball he cut back onto the foot of hard-charging senior striker Tim O'Donnell. A few minutes later junior midfielder Everick Little cleared a long ball out of the back and Moore out-raced three Northside defenders to get to the ball and finish the shot.”
To cap off his night Moore had one last goal, this one unassisted.
“The Bears’ defense was again impressive led by senior goalkeeper Stephen Robertson, who notched his eighth shutout, with the help of defensive standouts Dylan Baughman and Ezequiel Morales.”
Northside’s girls also won. The first time the Lady Eagles and Lady Bears won, it was Houston County with a 2-1 win. Tuesday Northside won 2-1.
All of the scoring was done in the first half. Sierra Sawyer scored first. After Anyssa Ybardo was pulled down in the penalty box, Kellie Starvetsky converted the penalty kick.
Houston County’s goal, Head Coach Sid Baxley said, came at the 35th minute. Jasmine Johnson converted it with an assist by Karissa Engram.
Said Northside Head Coach Ryan Burkhart of his squad: “It’s so hard to say who is a standout when the whole team steps up and plays like this. I’d say besides the regulars who play well almost every game, I’d have to give it to our substitutes today. We have been blessed this season with a deep bench, and we can keep our girls well rested and hydrated on days like today without any drop-off in talent.”
He added that sophomores Ybarbo and Kelsey Barton definitely stepped it up off the bench.
“We keep telling this group that they have the opportunity to be a special team,” he said. “When they play with passion and focus, like they did today, they are an extremely tough team to handle. It was a very hot day, and a few of the girls weren’t feeling too good.
“I am so proud of how they sucked it up, and left it all out on the field. Several of them looked completely drained once the game was finally over. Excited, but drained.”
With the win, the Lady Eagles improved to 6-5-0, 3-1-0 in 1-AAAA. The Lady Bears dropped to 7-2-1, 1-1-0.
Elsewhere, Veterans’ squads swept Mary Persons. For the Lady Warhawks, who won their eighth straight, it was a 4-0 win. They improved to 10-2-0, 6-0-0 in 2-AAA.
Things were a bit more difficult for the boys. They won 4-3 but the game-winner didn’t come until there was just 26 seconds left in the game.
The two were tied at 1 at the half. Veterans got out front 3-1 late in the second, Head Coach Matthew Roth, but Mary Persons came back “strong,” he said.
Carl Killingsworth scored the Warhawks’ first goal at 8:01. That was set up on Nick Andersen’s free kick from the left corner. He crossed the ball, Roth said, along the upper post where Killingsworth headed it in.
The Bulldogs tied it about five minutes later, he said. At 22:28 of the second half Killingsworth scored again. That was set up by Casey Zwitch’s free kick from the ride side. D.J. Garrett’s header toward the back post was deflected off a defender enabling Killingsworth to make a sliding kick on the ball into center goal for the score.
With 15:04 left, Roth said Garrett dribbled down to end line and played the ball across the face of the goal to Cody Scarborough where he tapped it in.
Mary Persons tied it with 47 seconds left but the Warhawks answered that by a long throw in by Elijah Milteer to Sean Joiner. Joiner “volleyed a shot at center goal to win the game.”
Veterans improved to 10-1-1, 6-0-0 with the win.