After leading comfortably heading into halftime, Woodford County had to rebound for a 3-2 win against Scott County in the first round of the boys’ 11th Region soccer tournament Tuesday night at Bryan Station. The Yellow Jackets advanced to the semifinals for the fifth straight season.
The Cardinals scored two goals in two minutes — one by Steven Jasper off a save by Woodford’s keeper during a corner kick and another via a breakaway strike from 10 yards out by Jakob Bennett – to draw even in the 54th minute.
Woodford County Coach Fonyam Atanga expected Scott County to come out as the aggressor after it managed to produce only two shots in the first half.
“We didn’t respond appropriately,” Atanga said. “And it’s funny because you tell kids, ‘Hey, this is going to happen.’”
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Several Woodford County starters re-entered the game after a mass substitution around the 15th minute. Glenn Fister was among the players who received a little extra rest, and used that additional energy to come up with the game-deciding goal in the box in the 70th minute.
“A lot of times when you give up a two-goal lead like that, your players for the most part will crumble,” Atanga said. “We didn’t. I felt we managed the game well.”
Maclain Evans was the first-half hero for the Yellow Jackets, scoring the game’s first goal in the eighth minute and assisting on Woodford’s second score – a chip shot by Brandon Cromwell – a minute before halftime.
Evans’ early goal was meant to be a cross but the wind helped him out, he said.
“You’re never gonna say, ‘Oh that was a pass. I wasn’t shooting,’” Evans said. “I took credit for the shot. I was like, ‘Yea, I meant to do that.’ But I really didn’t.”
Woodford County played both Madison Central and Lafayette, one of whom it will face in the semifinals, in the regular season. It lost 2-0 at Madison Central and tied Lafayette 0-0 as part of the Lexington Soccer Showcase in the opening weekend of the year. Fister said he looks forward to playing whichever team advanced out of the first round.
“Hopefully they’ll wear each other out,” he added with a laugh.
Woodford County 3, Scott County 2
G—WC: Evans (8’), Cromwell (39’), Fister (70’). SC: Jasper (51’), Bennett (54’).
GK—WC: Stanley. SC: Mickey.
Records: Woodford County 13-6-4, Scott County 9-8-1.
11th Region boys’ semifinals at Bryan Station
6:15 p.m.: Henry Clay (11-9-1) vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar (14-4-2)
8:15 p.m.: Woodford County (13-6-4) vs. Madison Central (16-4-3)