If possession is ninth-tenths of the law, the Foard soccer team would be guilty as charged.
The Tigers (6-4-1, 1-1-0) controlled the soccer ball for 72-of-80 minutes played Wednesday on their way to 5-0 Northwestern Conference win over Alexander Central (3-6-2, 0-2-0).
“Alexander Central tried to play a high line,” said Foard coach Scottie Goforth. “They tried to run the on-side trap on us. However, we adjusted our runs, adjusted a little bit on possession and focused more on just possessing the ball.”
Junior Kenan Ruffner quickly pulled the Tigers out to a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 14th minute of the game.
Continuing the aggressive on offense, Foard’s Khong Lo tried to score with nine minutes remaining in the period, but was interfered with by Cougars goalkeeper Connor Fox.
The interference set up a penalty kick, which Lo converted to put Foard up 2-0 at halftime.
During the first half, the Tigers controlled of the soccer ball for 35 of the 40 minutes in the period.
Adding “icing on the cake” in the second half, the Tigers scored three goals on the Cougars’ newly-inserted goalkeeper Justin Owenby.
“Alexander Central fell asleep a little bit as we possessed around them,” Goforth said. “We were able to get those goals a little bit easier in the second half. The chances came a lot easier. It was a good effort by our guys.”
Freshman Zach Durham scored in the 49th minute on an assist from Rodrigo Marin for the first goal in the second half.
It wasn’t until the late stages of the game, though, that the final two goals were scored. With 7:26 remaining in the game, Jovanny Hernandez pocketed a goal on a pass across the front of the net by sophomore Ryan Stasiak.
Assisting for the second time in as many goals, Stasiak found Lo for his second goal of the game with just over a minute remaining in the game.
“Khong is a very energetic leader for us,” Goforth said. “A lot of the guys feed off of his energy. For him to put two goals in gives him that much more energy and that much more drive. Everyone else feeds off that.”
While the Cougars got more opportunities with the soccer ball in the second half, they were unable to get on the scoreboard.
“It was good to keep the shutout,” Goforth said. “Aaron Mahnke good a good job in goal. Our defense did a great job. Jordan Turner and Ben Hilton did a good job of anchoring in the back and keeping it scoreless. They kept everything pretty tidy back there on defense.”