By DAVID M. FORD
The Thomson Soccer Dogs shut out the visiting Hephzibah Rebels 5-0 at the Brickyard on March 15.
Thomson wasted no time jumping to an early lead when Marquis Cook sent the ball into the net 2:35 into the game.
“One of my teammates put a through ball in, and I just used my feet to get past the first defender, then I got a little chip and put it past the goalie,” Cook said after the game.
The score stood at 1-0 until 23:29 remaining in the half, when Will Land scored a goal with an assist from Cook. John Holloway made his contribution to the night’s tally when he netted a goal with 1:19 left in the half, and Thomson went into the halftime break with a 3-0 lead.
Head coach Zack Tucker had nothing but praise for his team during the break.
“You’re playing very well right now,” Tucker told his players. “Let’s keep doing what we do.”
The Thomson defense responded by continuing to shut out the Rebels, holding them scoreless for the game. Offensively, Marquis Cook added another goal less than eight minutes into the second half.
“I got another through ball on that one, too,” Cook said. “I gave the defender a little shake, and he went for it, and I just played the ball through and scored.”
Cook wasn’t done for the night, however, earning his second hat trick of the season with a perfectly placed header five minutes later.
“That was communication,” Cook said. “Ricky Martinez was making a corner kick, and he gave me a little head nod before making the kick. He kicked it just right and I was able to glance it in.”
The three scores brought Cook’s total goals for the season up to10.
“Marquis is a star on this team, for sure,” coach Tucker said after the game. “I had him playing mid-field last year, and he was an excellent set up man. This year I moved him up to forward, to have a scoring threat. He’s been everything I wanted and more than I expected him to be. He’s done an absolutely fantastic job. Most players are happy to get just one hat trick in a career, and he’s had two in just this season.”
The early lead and effective defense gave Tucker a chance to make a number of substitutions in the game.
“We did a nice job from the start, just doing what we wanted to do and what we needed to do to get the win,” Tucker said. “I liked being able to get some of these guys in who haven’t quite been able to play as much as the others, and getting them playing time and a good, solid set of minutes.’
“Unfortunately, it might be the last time this season we’re able to do that,” Tucker said, “because our next four games are going to be pretty tough.”
The Dogs faced Westside at home Tuesday and travel to A.R. Johnson today. They have home games next Tuesday (vs. Harlem) and Thursday (vs. Grovetown) at 7 p.m. each day.