|Wed, Mar 12, 2014 07:22 AM
September 25, 2013 | 10:49 AM
Corydon Central used three second-half goals to put away rival North Harrison 4-0 in boys' soccer last Wednesday in Ramsey.
Panthers coach Jeff Salomon gave his team a baseball-inspired speech at halftime to fire up the insurance goals.
"I said at half we weren't thinking soccer right now," Salomon said. "I gave them the baseball adage: know what you are going to do with the ball when you get it. I know it's hard in soccer, but they were too busy thinking on the fly."
With the score holding steady at 1-0, it took until near the midway point of the second half for the Panthers to add a goal.
Taking a free kick inside the midfield line, Grant Robinson sent a ball toward an unmarked Cory Thomas. Leaping in the air, Thomas flicked the ball slightly with his head before North Harrison keeper Nathan Wayman could make a play. The touch was enough to send the ball skipping past the goal line in the 59th minute.
"I thought Grant Robinson played a great game," Salomon said. "He moved better in the second half and got around guys. Grant Smith at forward late in the first half gave us a good spark."
North Harrison coach Clint Clark said the second goal put the Cougars too far behind.
"The second goal was a good ball into (Thomas), and our goalkeeper had to make a quick decision," Clark said. "Nathan is a great goalkeeper and keeps us in a lot of games, but he went up and the timing wasn't there. The flick was impressive."
Three minutes after the Thomas goal, Robinson scored one of his own. Racing down the right flank, Robinson took a tough angle shot that found the upper left corner of the net.
A Panthers celebration away from the goal drew angst from the Cougars faithful and a yellow card booking for Smith.
"I talked to the kids about the celebration and told them that was excessive," Salomon said. "There is such a thing as celebrating a goal and there is being excessive. They have to be smarter than that."
Thomas added his second goal of the game with 5:54 minutes to play, reaching the 4-0 final score.
"Cory was a little beat up from the Jeff game, so he wasn't as fast as he usually is," Salomon said. "The second half I told them to move, pass and possess more. We missed the first nice shot we got off in the second half with Grant and Cory playing a good 1-2. It was a much better half."
In the first half, Corydon Central scored a quick early goal when Isidro Chavez had his initial shot saved by Wayman. The rebound fell Chavez's way, which he put in the back of the net.
Despite the early goal, the Cougars played an even first half with their Mid-Southern Conference rivals. Hunter Gray and Noah Yost had a few opportunities at goal but couldn't get a shot into the net.
"We definitely held together and played together as a team," Clark said. "I think it showed because we had some chances in the beginning. I think we surprised them a bit. It went evenly both ways in the first half; we had a 6-6 shot chart at half."
Jay Brent earned the shutout in goal for the Panthers.
"Our defense was pretty good tonight," Salomon said. "Jay Brent played a good game. Austin Whittington, Dalton Arnold, Garrett Dunaway and Nick Smythe were smart and let them take longer shots and only gave up one breakaway."
Clint took over the Cougars program after the first game of the 2013 season. He has previous head coaching experience with a high school in Michigan before moving to Harrison County 12 years ago.
"I'm happy," he said. "Our boys are working on respect. It's a big group of seniors, and we're working toward building the program. We have 40 kids in our middle school program which is in its second year. We have 64 or so in the youth program, so North Harrison's soccer future is looking bright. I tell our guys they are the beginning of that and setting culture. We have a saying of ruthless simplicity. We want to be known as doing the simple things so darn good. We'll get there, but that takes time."
Salomon was also complimentary toward the Cougars.
"North Harrison had a good side and played well. They hustled to the ball well," he said.
Corydon Central will return to action tomorrow (Thursday) when the Panthers travel to Austin. On Saturday, North Harrison will visit Charlestown while Corydon Central heads to Meade County (Ky.).