“Feeling good today!” said a giddy Thunder Mountain High School boys soccer coach Joshua Odum.
Somehow, after getting blitzed in the first half by Ben Carter and JJ Mosher, Odum’s Falcons were just two goals down with 20 minutes remaining in their game with Juneau-Douglas High School Monday night at Adair Kennedy Field.
It also helped Bernard Yadao had just provided the Falcons with their first (and only) quality scoring attempt of the game with his header that pluncked off the crossbar. However, the Crimson Bears soon retook control of the game, and Sherrod Miller scored two goals late, sending the Crimson Bears (2-0) over the Falcons (0-2) with a with a 4-0 win.
“You got to give them credit, they kept the ball out of the net, which ever way they had to,” JDHS head coach Gary Lehnhart said of a wacky first half that featured only one goal. “Each one was a little bit different, you kind of went, ‘Wow, how did that not go in?’”
The Crimson Bears did everything but score in the first half, controlling play with speed, agility and execution. Unfortunately, most of their shots were sent right into the chest Falcons goalie Carl Tupou or wide left or right of the net. Mosher’s goal in the 19th minute — a header off a nice ball by Aidan Hopson — was the lone Crimson Bears goal in the first half.
“I actually thought we played better in the first half than the second half,” Lehnhart said. “And we scored three goals in the second half.”
Carter scored in the 47th minute of the second half for JDHS while being closely hounded by Falcons’ Riley Lawlar. TMHS made a nice effort in the next 10 minutes that culminated with Yadao’s near-goal before the Miller helped swing the momentum back to the Crimson Bears with his two goals at the 72nd and 75th minutes respectively.
The first of which came by following up a Carter stike that Tupou made the initial save on.
“That was my third goal like that off [Ben Carter]. In Seattle we had a couple like that — it was just right place, right time,” Miller said.
His next goal was assisted by Michael White, who found him upfield with a long pass.
It’s the second time this season the Crimson Bears have shut out the Falcons while scoring multiple goals in the second half. JDHS beat Thunder Mountain 5-0 on their home turf March 31 before Monday’s 4-0 win on at Adair Kennedy Memorial Field.
JDHS’ Brysen Mitchell, Salar Peirovi and Ezra Geselle all sat out of the game due to injury or sickness. JDHS plays West Valley this Friday and Saturday at noon at Adair Kennedy Field.
Thunder Mountain plays West Valley Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. before taking on Ketchikan at 7:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Juneau-Douglas boys season outlook
The biggest regional challenger for the JDHS boys soccer team will likely be themselves. The Crimson Bears play 11 games in April against non-Region V teams. This week’s home stand against West Valley and next’s against South Anchorage should provide fans with back-and-forth action. Over half of this year’s squad is seniors (11 of 22) who bring gobs of experience with them. Senior Michael White is a bull of a defender whose work load will be tempered by the offensive activity of classmates JJ Mosher, Sherrod Miller, Ben Carter and Ben Undurraga. The team is not nearly as deep in the goaltender position, which according to Coach Lehnhart will play a factor in how far this team goes.
“I’m not worried about us scoring goals, it’s whether or not we’ll be able to stop other people,” Lehnhart said.
Thunder Mountain boys season outlook
The Thunder Mountain boys soccer team is led by Riley Lawlar, Alan Plosay and Jake Babcock. Their best chances of wins will be against Ketchikan, who they play four times. It’s Joshua Odum’s first as the varsity head coach after years of assisting new-Dad, old-head coach Tim Lewis. Odum says his coaching philosophy is very simple: “We’re coaching for character, rather than skill at this point,” he said, adding: “It’s fantastic to see a group of kids who are dedicated enough to push an entire program to a new level of play.”
Check out Thursday’s Empire for a recap of Tuesday’s girls soccer season-opener between Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas High School.
•Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.