FRANKFORT — Coaches preach about the importance of getting an early goal, especially in a big game.
Franklin County practiced exactly what its coach preached and got that goal two minutes in to set up the upset over No. 20 Paul Laurence Dunbar 1-0 in sub-sectional soccer at the Sower Soccer Complex.
Last week, the Flyers made school history by winning the region tournament, and Monday night they became the first high school from Frankfort to ever advance out of the field of 16.
The Flyers' goal came off the foot of star Bryce Burton, who scored his team-leading 25th of the season.
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"This feels awesome," the senior said. "I knew we had the players to do it. ... We wanted to come out strong and put them away quick."
It was a revenge win over the Bulldogs, who topped the Flyers 3-1 in the regular season. Franklin County advances to face Danville, a 4-0 winner over South Laurel, in the sectionals on Wednesday.
"On this big stage, they didn't let the nerves get to them," Franklin Coach Zac Donnelly said. "This is a special team."
Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz says his team is pretty special, too.
It still played hard despite being a man down all but 16 minutes of the game.
Sixteen minutes in, region tournament Most Valuable Player Bennett Norris questioned the center official on a no-call after a collision in the middle of the field.
The official gave Norris a red card and threw him out of the game, which meant the Bulldogs would be one man down the rest of the way.
"Some referees are very sensitive," Bretz said. "Usually, in a sub-sectional game like this, you'll give a (yellow) card unless the guy yells it across the field. ... I think it was a bit harsh."
Dunbar didn't look as if it was a man down, especially early in the second half when the team got two shots on goal that didn't go.
In the final six minutes, the Bulldogs had two throw-ins that made it into the box, but they couldn't convert those, either.
"They came out hard in the second half," Burton said of Dunbar. "We didn't come out as hard as we should have, but a win's a win, and we're going to take it."
The Flyers' defense and keeper Travis Petry held on to collect their eighth shutout of the season and give Franklin County its seventh straight victory.
"This is what you dream about," Burton said. "We don't want to stop here. We want to keep going."
But it was the end of the road for Dunbar.
"We've had a great year," Bretz said. "They learned to believe in themselves and believe in each other, and they did a fantastic job. I couldn't ask for anything more than a better score."
Franklin County 1, Paul Dunbar 0
Goal—Bryce Burton. Goalkeepers—PLD: Taylor Nossokoff; FC: Travis Petry.
Records—Paul Laurence Dunbar 10-5-4, Franklin County 15-6-2.