After sleepwalking through the first half, the Elizabethton Cyclones awoke in the second half to overwhelm Chuckey-Doak 5-1 in the Region 1 A/AA boys soccer tournament opener played at Brown-Childress Stadium.
Led by striker Raphael Teixeira’s second-half hat trick, EHS overcame its own miscues and malaise and became an entirely different squad in the second half.
“I challenged them at halftime,” said Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. “We weren’t far off, a yard behind or a second too late on passes, and we didn’t have any aggressiveness going. The second half we saw what they are capable of and what they can do.”
C-D took a quick one-goal lead in the first minute of play when a penalty was called just outside the EHS goal box, giving the Black Knights a direct kick. Franky Cedillo knocked it past EHS goalkeeper Luke Broyles to his right and C-D led 1-nil.
EHS played well defensively, but Chuckey-Doak kept the pressure on and the ball in the Cyclones end for most of the rest of the half. Broyles and back liner Bobby Holt made some fine stops to keep the Cyclones within striking distance.
Broyles made five first-half saves and Holt made a dandy save on a corner kick off the foot of Leon Pelikan, stopping the ball at the near post and clearing it to midfield.
The second half began as if it would be a repeat of the first as a penalty set the Knights up with another free kick just outside the box, near the 20-yard line. Giovanni Jimenez struck a shot the sailed over the crossbar, and minutes later the tide turned for good.
Teixeira took advantage of a rare lapse in the C-D defense, gained possession inside the box and directed a shot, on the outside of his foot, past Knights goalkeeper Marshall Hagy.
“Number 20 was killing me over there,” said Teixeira. “But I told the guys we needed more scoring opportunities and play the ball to me. Once we got that first score, things started to change for us. Everybody in the crowd starts cheering and it makes you feel like they like the way you are playing.
“We just needed to play the game the way we play, not the way they play. That’s pretty much what happened.”
Just two minutes later senior Ashton Stevens put a direct kick from the 40 yard line on goal, but Hagy couldn’t handle the shot and Joey Stahl knocked in the rebound to make it a 2-1 Cyclones lead.
“I put that ball straight through the line on to Raffy’s foot and we started picking up the speed of our play after that,” Stevens said. “We possessed the ball a lot more after that and started playing our game. We did everything we needed to do to come back and never let up.”
In the 58th minute, Teixeira had a breakaway as he took the ball off the foot of a C-D backliner and passed forward to himself, split two defenders to the ball and scored easily on a point blank shot to give EHS a 3-1 lead.
The tsunami wave kept rolling as three minutes later a nice feed from freshman Isaac Fife to Teixeira led to Raphael’s hat trick and a 4-1 Cyclone lead.
In the game’s closing minutes, Stevens capped the scoring by drilling home a penalty kick in the 79th minute for the 5-1 lead that closed out the 2012 season for Chuckey-Doak.
“I told the guys that they are well capable of playing like this, we just had to step it up,” McClay said. “We needed to start stringing passes together, and once the first goal went in… It evened up for the first goal and the momentum then just swung completely around.”
The Cyclones are off until next Tuesday, when they will face the winner of Greeneville/Cumberland Gap in the second round.
Chuckey-Doak 1 0 — 1
Elizabethton 0 5 — 5
C-D: Cedillo (Penalty Kick) 1:00
EHS: Teixeira (assist – Stevens), 49:00
EHS: Stahl (assist – Stevens), 51:00
EHS: Teixeira (unassisted) ,58:00
EHS: Teixeira (assist – Fife), 61:00
EHS: Stevens (Penalty Kick), 79:00
Shots on goal – C-D 6, EHS 8. Penalties – C-D 7, EHS 6.