After a frustrating scoreless first half, Rebels senior Jordan Johnson scored less than one minute into the second half and added a goal four minutes later to give his team a commanding 2-0 advantage.
“They were filling up the box with defenders, so coach told us at halftime to get the ball wide and spread them out,” said Johnson. “Once we did that, we got the angles we needed.”
Johnson beat his defender and blistered a shot just inside the far post to put South (6-2) up 1-0 moments after the second half kickoff.
Four minutes later, Johnson took a through ball from Luke Pollack and slipped a shot past Gate City goalkeeper Luke Reed to up the lead to 2-0.
Lance Pollack put the game on ice with a beautiful header off a crossing pass from Johnson in the 73rd minute.
“I wasn’t unhappy with our first half,” said South coach Keith Parker. “We were all over the goal and had our opportunities. We just had to get the ball wide to open things up.”
South’s experience proved to be the difference. The Rebs had 13 shots on goal to just two for the Blue Devils (0-3).
Just around the corner
The Rebels offense produced 12 corner kicks in the contest. South’s first corner of the game found the net, but the ball was kicked outside the endline before curling back into play, and therefore the goal was disallowed.
Gate City frustrated South in the first half by packing the box with defenders and not allowing a clear path to the goal. Once the Rebels stretched the Blue Devils defense, they took full advantage.
“They played hard and kept up with us,” said Johnson of the Blue Devils. What they may have lacked in experience they made up with heart.”
Gate City coach Aaron Hillman echoed that sentiment.
“We always enjoy coming over here to play South,” said Hillman. “They are a quality team and are well-coached. When you play good teams, it helps to make you better.
“We’re still very young and inexperienced,” added Hillman. “But we gave them a tough time in the first half, and when we got down we never gave up and kept on hustling. That’s all a coach can ask.”