Franklin County sweeps BHS soccer
Franklin County swept Brookhaven High Tuesday night in two close varsity soccer matches. The Lady Bulldogs of Franklin County defeated the Lady Panthers 1-0, and the Bulldogs beat the Panthers 2-0 in the finale on King Field.
Lady Bulldogs 1, Lady Panthers 0
The girls game saw both teams battle back and forth for a chance to score.
“We’ve got a lot of new players and we have started out slow,” said Lady Panther senior Kat Wallace. “I feel like tonight, even though we were down a few players due to sickness and injuries, we pulled it all together and had a good outing. I think our defense has gotten better since the start of the season. We just need to get all our offensive players here at the same time, then we’ll be able to cause some problems.”
Although both teams took several shots at the goal in the first half, the goalies were able to prevent any shot from getting past them. Heading into halftime, the game was still scoreless.
The game featured much of the same in the second half, with each team having chances to score but unable to do so.
With 24:45 left in the game, the Lady Bulldogs were able to get past the Lady Panthers defenders for the game’s only score when sophomore Jenna Long scored unassisted. It was the 19th goal of the season for Long.
The Lady Panthers attempted to answer the score, but time ran out before they were able to do so. Junior keeper Malaine Moak picked up the shutout win between the pipes for Franklin County.
The tight finish was indicative of a great effort from the Lady Panthers. Franklin County has now scored 63 goals this season and surrendered zero.
Junior Maddie Brabham was in goal for Brookhaven High.
“I was proud of the girls, they worked hard and kept fighting,” Lady Panthers coach Kevin Bower said. “It was a close game and could’ve gone either way. Both teams had a lot of runs. We’ve been working on our defense and did a lot better in that area tonight.”
The results were a marked improvement from the season opener, when Franklin County won the same matchup by a final of 7-0 in Meadville.
Franklin County moves to 12-0 on the season while the Lady Panthers sit at 1-7-1.
Bulldogs 2, Panthers 0
The boys game featured much of the same as the girls’ game, with both teams having several scoring opportunities that saw them unable to capitalize on runs.
“The season has been going great for us,” Panthers senior Anderson Turpin said. “We’ve been improving every single game. We still have a lot of things to improve on like passing, communication and trusting each other, but I feel like we are coming together as a team.”
The game remained scoreless through much of the first half.
Franklin County scored the game’s first goal, as senior Joshua Guice managed to get past the Panthers defense to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The game would remain 1-0 until Guice got his second goal of the game at the 25-minute mark. Guice has 18 goals on the season and was assisted on both scores by Braden Whitehead.
BHS tried to answer as the game went along but were unable to get the ball past Bulldogs goal keeper Colby Guice. Senior Sawyer Allen was the goal keeper for the Panthers.
“Overall we did much better than the first time we played Franklin County,” Panthers coach Aaron Ayers said. “We had careless mistakes that hurt us. Our defense played really well, but the one time they were out of position Franklin was able to take advantage. We had some shots, but we made one too many touches and one too many passes.”
The Franklin County boys are now 12-0 and have outscored their competition 53-1 this season. Brookhaven is now 2-6-1 and faces Loyd Star on Friday at home. Franklin County travels to Wesson for a region matchup against the Cobras on Thursday.
The Franklin County programs have been built into a regional soccer power by coach Jeff Long, who took over in Meadville after winning four state titles at Clinton. The wins on Tuesday pushed his career win total to 491.
“I thought Brookhaven came out in both games and had a lot more intensity than we did,” said Long. “We had to adjust our game plan. We had to dig deep and find a way to win. Brookhaven has improved a lot since the last time we played them and pressured us a lot more than usual. The pressure was good for us as it tested us.”
Story by Dave Linton