The Thomson High School Soccer Dogs defeated the Lincoln County Red Devils in an away game Feb. 21, by a score of 5-4.
It was clear before to the game that a strong wind from the south would play a role in the game. “Keep the ball low, especially when you go to the outside,” head coach Zack Tucker told his players. “Keep it down on the ground.”
The game remained scoreless well into the first half. With 15:19 remaining in the half, Thomson’s foreign exchange student, Alex Frings from Germany, sent the ball into the net for the first goal of the game.
“That goal was for my host family, the McAlisters, because they’ve been so nice to me and allowed me to continue my exchange here at Thomson,” Frings said after the game. “Marquis Cook passed the ball to me in the penalty area, and I was able to kick it into the net. It felt great to get the first goal of the game, and my first goal of the season.”
Lincoln county responded with a goal of its own to tie the game, but a goal by Ricky Martinez with 1:10 remaining in the half gave Thomson a 2-1 lead going into the halftime break.
“I’m not sure if it was Marquis (Cook) or John (Holloway) who fed me that ball, but it came in from the outside,” Martinez said following the game. “But I had some room to move around and took the shot. I’m not sure what happened to their goalie, but he missed it and I made the goal. It felt good to get my first goal for the team this season, since I had a bit of a rough start.”
Both coaches took advantage of the break to urge the team to play at a higher level.
“We need to stop playing down to their level and play up to our level,” assistant coach Brad Adams told the team.
“Play simple, play fast, play the way Thomson plays,” Tucker added.
Thomson did seem to pick up play in the second half with a Will Land goal within the first 10 minutes, giving the Dogs a 3-1 lead. But two successful penalty kicks by the Red Devils allowed Lincoln County to tie the game at 3. Thomson went on to score two more goals in the closing minutes, one by Holloway and another by Jake Tillman. Lincoln County did put another goal on the board with 16 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.
“We made the ball come up the field like we’re supposed to,” Tillman said of his game-winning goal. “Marquis took a shot from the outside and I was able to go in and make the header. Anything for the team is how I feel about it.”
Tucker was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We’re getting better,” Tucker said after the game. “To have five different players score goals in one game is a nice thing to do. It lets you know the ball’s getting spread around to where it needs to be. We made a little bit of an adjustment with our starters, just rotated some of our midfielders around, which seemed to help. I threw that on them today just to try something different, and it seemed to work well. We did a much better job of playing our game tonight. Overall, I’m very pleased and looking forward to where we’re headed.”
Friday’s scheduled game at Glenn Hills was canceled. The Soccer Dogs faced Cross Creek at home on Tuesday, and will be away vs. Butler on Friday. The next home game is Wednesday vs Josey at 7 p.m.