An old aftershave commercial used to claim that its product “wakes you up like a cold slap in the face.” The Elizabethton soccer squad found out on Thursday night that an early goal against you by a team you are dominating can have the same effect.
The Cyclones (1-1) shook off the early blow and rallied to a 4-1 victory over the KACHEA Wildcats at Brown-Childress Stadium behind a hat trick from senior Raphael Teixeira and a header goal from sophomore Darion Simerly.
A one-hour delay due to a thunderstorm seemed to take some early momentum from EHS as the Cyclones started slowly, but still managed to dominate ball possession for much of the half.
“I was happy we kept the ball in the first half and we had some bad luck when a ball hit the crossbar,” said EHS head coach Bill McClay. “But we didn’t finish and they came across the field once and floated one in. That’s the nature of the game, but I thought the guys responded well and we came back and scored.”
A mistake in the middle line allowed ’Cats forward Ryan Moser to get possession in the corner on the far sideline from the stands, and he fed Markis Moody with a pass in the box. Moody’s shot beat EHS junior goalkeeper Luke Broyles for a 1-nil lead.
Moody’s goal came in the 28th minute and the Wildcats’ lead lasted until just four minutes from the end of the half, when Ashton Stevens throw in from the corner on the near sideline and found the foot of Teixeira, who directed a shot past Wildcats keeper Dave Russell for the equalizer.
“It was a big key for us to possess the ball tonight,” Teixeira said. “I got good real good passes tonight from my teammates, Ashton gave me a good pass on the second goal and the third goal was kind of a bad shot — but it bounced high over the keeper.”
The score stood 1-1 at halftime, but just eight minutes into the second half senior Ashton Stevens took possession at midfield and fed Teixeira in the middle of the field inside the goal box. Teixeira was able to beat Russell once again to give EHS a 2-1 advantage.
Two minutes later Russell attempted a goal kick that floated to near the 30-yard line, from where Teixeira blasted a return shot that went high and took a big bounce over the head of Russell to complete the hat trick and give EHS a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
“They buckled down in the second half and made more precise passes,” McClay said. “We started making passes left to right and right to left and we didn’t leave any big gaps on the field for the most part. I think it was a decent effort all around.”
The Cyclones controlled the ball in the second half almost completely with crisp passes and solid dribbling, and in the 71st minute Simerly struck a corner kick by Stevens and headed it into the Wildcats nets to complete the scoring for the evening.
Stevens was in on every scoring play of the night for EHS, collecting four assists on the night.
“Ashton Stevens set up the corner kick,” said Simerly. “He put it right at the back post, right where I needed it to be. We had a lot of chances to score in this game, but the perfect opportunity came and I made it.
“I think in the beginning we thought we had the game under control because of who we were playing. But we realized when they got that goal that they weren’t going to lay down for us and we had to get our mind set right and make good decisions.”
In the closing seconds, the Wildcats’ Josh Webb went down with a leg injury with a scream that could have been heard in Hampton. Webb was transported to the hospital by ambulance and the severity of his injury is not known at this time.
EHS opens conference play on Tuesday with a home match against Cosby before a contest at David Crockett on Thursday night.
Elizabethton 4, KACHEA 1
KACHEA 1 0 — 1
Elizabethton 1 3 — 4
K—Moody (goal – assist Moser), 28:00
EHS—Teixeira (goal – assist Stevens), 36:00
EHS—Teixeira (goal – assist Stevens), 48:00
EHS—Teixeira (goal – unassisted), 50:00
EHS—Simerly (goal – assist Stevens), 71:00