Woodford County came out swinging around the goal at Paul Laurence Dunbar on Tuesday night. It landed just enough punches to come away with a 2-1 win.
The Yellow Jackets outshot the Bulldogs, unofficially, 21-7.
"I knew we would create chances, and at halftime just refocused and calmed the boys down," said Woodford Coach Fonyam Atanga, whose team trailed 1-0 at the break. " ... I'm happy we shot that many and actually got something to show for it."
Woodford's ferocity near the goal was something Dunbar had difficulty containing all night, Bulldogs Coach Todd Bretz said.
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"They were the better team," Bretz said. "They were hungrier to the goal."
Dunbar drew first blood after Caleb Norris reeled in a pass from Ricky Clemente and took advantage of a failed mark to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead at the 12-minute mark.
Dunbar went 18 minutes before its next two shots. Woodford had six in that span.
The Yellow Jackets finally capitalized on their opportunities when Glenn Fister put a well-placed cross from the right corner onto Trevor White, who headed the ball in to knot things at 1-1 with 21 minutes to play.
Woodford's assault near the net created its game-winning goal. A trio of hard shots — starting from the left outside the 18-yard line and ending inside the box — eventually led to a penalty kick situation. Jax Young, the team's leading goal scorer with 10 entering Tuesday, put it past Dunbar keeper Travis Shuler for a 2-1 lead.
It was Atanga's first win over Dunbar and was Woodford's first win over the Bulldogs since a 1-0 district title victory on Oct. 17, 2002. That was their only victory against the Bulldogs before Tuesday night.
"It means a lot for the boys psychologically, just to know they can do it," Atanga said. "But it doesn't mean as much if we don't win in the postseason. ... I'll let them enjoy it, soak it in and just realize 'hey, we can actually beat these Lexington schools.'"
Bretz said his team's mental letdowns throughout the contest led to their second straight loss. The Bulldogs fell 3-0 to Lexington Catholic at home last Thursday.
"When you get outshot and outplayed, you should lose the game," Bretz said.
Atanga said his team deserved a day off Wednesday for the intensity they showed Tuesday night.
"But we play Henry Clay on Thursday so there's no rest for the weary," Atanga said with a laugh.
Woodford County 2, Paul Dunbar 1
G—WC: White (59'), Young (66', PK). PD: Norris (12').
GK—WC: Batman. PD: Shuler.