MINFORD — It’s early, but already, it seems as if the Minford High School boys soccer squad is racking up goals faster than you can blink.
And, the Falcons’ performance in the final few first-half minutes, and in the opening two-and-a-half minutes of the second stanza, sure felt like it.
That’s because, inside a sauna-like Falcons’ Nest on Tuesday night, the Falcons’ furious four-goal blitz in a matter of almost nine minutes spearheaded Minford to a 5-2 non-league victory over the visiting Jackson Ironmen.
That’s correct, as the Falcons —following Saturday’s 6-3 season-opening doubling up of New Boston — have already scored 11 goals in their two matches.
The Ironmen, which got two second-half goals from Landon Dailey and Connor Ball in a matter of five minutes and 11 seconds, are now 1-1 —as they blanked Circleville 2-0 in their Saturday season opener.
But the Falcons flew free from a scoreless affair in the first half of the first half, as Adam Crank cranked up the Minford scoring machine — with a penalty-kick goal with 20 minutes and 13 seconds showing.
Fourteen minutes later, senior Zane Miller managed Minford’s second score —a free kick that cleared a high-reaching Jackson goalkeeper Isaac Coleman.
At the four-and-a-half minute mark, Miller made it 3-0 — taking a through-ball pass from freshman Myles Montgomery and niftily knocking it in.
In the second-half’s opening three minutes, the Falcons picked up where they left off —on goals from fellow freshman Ethan Cordle and Montgomery, making it 5-0 and the rout being on.
Crank collected the assist on Montgomery’s marker.
Against New Boston, the Falcons did the same to the Tigers as they did the Ironmen —scoring three goals in a matter of five first-half minutes, followed by two more markers with only 18 and 17 second-half minutes to play.
Tuesday’s tilt marked just the second for first-year Minford coach Jacob Hackworth, but so far, he’s liked what he has seen from his offensive-oriented Falcons.
“Anytime you can get three goals in real quick or two goals in real quick, you get the momentum going. I’ve been preaching effort and intensity and hustle to the ball. If we hustle to the ball and win the ball, we’re going to score goals,” said Hackworth.
The Falcons’ hustle helped out in earning Crank’s penalty kick, as the Ironmen committed a foul in the box.
“We had a sub in, and I explained to him that if they get on your back, be smart and put the ball at your feet. He went right in, they got on his back, he drew the foul and made a great play to get us going,” said Hackworth. “And Adam stepped up and he’s been huge.”
So too was Miller with his two goals, in particular the free kick to make it 2-0 —and turn the heat up on Jackson even more.
“Zane just had a heck of a hit there. Not many keepers are going to stop that shot, solid side net from about 25 yards out,” said Hackworth. “Then his second goal was probably our best goal. We talked spacing and gaps, we had a striker fallen off, we got the ball to him, the midfielder overlapped and we got a good through-ball to Zane. That’s just good soccer and what we’ve been preaching.”
And, good offensive soccer the Falcons are playing, even for the defensive-minded Hackworth.
As the match moved into the second half of the first half, the overwhelming majority was played in Minford’s offensive half —and even third.
“We’re getting our goals in spurts, and we need to keep that going. About the whole game the ball was in our half. We were able to play 16 guys, including six freshmen for big minutes, which is huge for us,” said Hackworth.
Those 16 Falcons combined for 21 total shots, as Minford attempted 15 shots on goal against Coleman — who was credited with nine saves.
Jackson just had nine shots including only four on goal, as first-year goalkeeper and senior Levi Coriell made a pair of saves for the hosts.
Hackworth said the Ironmen’s markers in the latter half of the second half had him thinking of an area for his charges to improve upon.
“We’ve scored 11 goals, but the most frustrating thing about it is we’ve given up five. I’m a defensive-minded guy, I don’t like giving up goals and our team doeesn’t like giving up goals,” said the coach. “We’ve got a first-year keeper and three first-year fullbacks. As the season goes, I think we’ll improve there. As long as we’re scoring, it’s bailing us out for now, but we have to be better in the back.”
Still, amid the heat and the dog days of August, there isn’t too much complaining from the Falcons and their faithful.
“We’re off to a great start with two wins and 11 goals, and we’re going in the right direction,” said Hackworth. “Just really proud of the effort. No matter what the score is, I told the guys to hustle, work your butt off and pressure the ball for 80 minutes. Good things will happen when we do that.”
Minford will now play on the road, and open Southern Ohio Conference Division II action, at West on Thursday.
First kick is set for 5:30 pm.
* * *
M — Adam Crank (penalty kick), 20:13, 1st (1-0 M)
M — Zane Miller (free kick), 6:13, 1st (2-0 M)
M — Zane Miller (Myles Montgomery assist), 4:31, 1st (3-0 M)
M — Ethan Cordle (unassisted), 38:46, 2nd (4-0 M)
M — Myles Montgomery (Adam Crank assisted), 37:22, 2nd (5-0 M)
J — Landon Dailey (unassisted), 19:37, 2nd (5-1 M)
J — Connor Ball (unassisted), 14:26, 2nd (5-2 M)
SHOTS — Jackson 9, Minford 21
SHOTS ON GOAL — Jackson 4, Minford 15
KEEPER SAVES — Jackson 9 (Isaac Coleman), Minford 2 (Levi Coriell)
CORNER KICKS — Jackson 4, Minford 4
YELLOW CARDS — Jackson 2 (Landon Dailey, Broc Williams), Minford 0
RED CARDS — none
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved