The Midway Raiders and Clinton Dark Horses met up for a showdown on the soccer field on Thursday evening in East Central 2A Conference action. After a hard fought and physical game, Clinton capitalized on a late game spurt to put Midway away, 9-3.
This matchup, the first of two in the coming days, featured a couple of quick bursts by the Dark Horses in an otherwise defensive battle. Though the final score was 9-3 in favor of Clinton, action on the field was tense until late in the game.
Beginning in the first half, action was back and forth in the early stages. Each team had a couple of opportunities but the game remained scoreless through the first five minutes as both teams drew to an even battle.
Then, however, the first surge by the Dark Horses commenced.
With 33:58 displayed on the clock, Jared Aguilar fired a shot through traffic that found its way to the back of the net for the Clinton 1-0 lead.
Just moments later, Midway didn’t help their cause when a breakdown in communication yielded a turnover in front of their own net. Clinton’s Ashton Tyndall took a pass from Patrick Bereza and fired a shot that floated over the Midway goal keepers head and into the net for their second score.
With two quick scores, the Dark Horses still weren’t done.
Parker Norris found the back of the net with 27:19 left on the clock to give Clinton firm control with a 3-0 lead. On this goal, Aguilar was credited the assist.
Clinton would strike one more time to make it 4-0 with 22:27 left on the clock as Bereza picked up an unassisted goal of his own
Facing a quick 4-0 deficit, Midway battened down the hatches and came up with an answer of their own.
With 21:47 left in the half, Alex Torres-Aragon connected for a score to bring Midway back to within 4-1.
That score held the rest of the way as the Raiders staved off anymore offense from the Dark Horses as the lead stood at 4-1 at the halftime break.
In the second half, Midway pulled back to within 4-2 as Sergio Escalera connected with 34:35 left in the contest.
Again, the 4-2 score held for several minutes as the match was tightening back up and excitement was building.
Clinton, though, had another jolt in them.
Reid Taylor got the scoring started with back-to-back goals at 23:43 and 22:25 on the clock, making it 6-2 Dark Horses. Aguilar was credited with the assist on the first goal while Norris was credited the assist on the second.
With the score 6-2, Connor King jumped into the scoring column at 21:58 to make it 7-2 in favor of Clinton
The scoring didn’t stop there as Parker Norris picked up another goal at 16:43 followed by Axel Ramirez scoring to make it 9-2 with 12:02 left in the game.
With time ticking away, Midway would score one final goal to make it 9-3 when Josue Perez found the back of the net but it was too little too late as Clinton ran away with the 9-3 victory.
After the game, Clinton coach Brad Spell spoke highly of his team and how proud he was of their efforts this week. He noted that his team faced off against three tough opponents, including James Kenan, who had previously defeated his Dark Horses, but was pleased that his Dark Horses found a way to grind out three big wins.
Over on the Midway side, coach James O’Brien was proud of the heart and fight that his team showed throughout the contest. He bragged on them never quitting and fighting all the way to final buzzer. O’Brien did, however, stress that his team had some positional issues that he’d like to focus on cleaning up.
With the win, Clinton improves to 12-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play. They will return to action on Wednesday when they square off against the Raiders once more, this time at the Dark Horse Soccer Complex.
For Midway, they fall to 7-2-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play. They are slated to take on Wallace-Rose Hill on Monday for a home matchup before traveling for a rematch with Clinton on Wednesday.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]