OAKWOOD—It was easy to see the excitement coming from Johnson High boys soccer team as they met on the field following its 3-1 win against Lumpkin County on Tuesday night at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium.
The Knights dethroned Class AAA’s fourth-ranked team from the top of Region 7-AAA, making the Indians’ first loss of the season count in region play.
“I tried to get them fired up,” Johnson head coach Brian Shirley said. “We knew we were a better squad than the region record we had, so we were just trying to come out and make a statement.”
Johnson (7-3, 4-2 Area 7-AAA) led the entire the game, jumping out to a two goal lead in the first half and never looking back, controlling the offense with numerous shots on goals, the majority coming from headers fed by corner kicks.
Juan Morfin led the Knights’ offense with two goals. Ruben Castro also scored for Johnson.
“(The strategy) was to finish everything we had, opportunity-wise,” Shirley said. “They’re (Lumpkin County) a very dangerous team on offense, so we were just trying to keep the ball on their side of the field.”
Meanwhile, the Knights’ defense also limited Lumpkin County’s scoring chances. The Indians (8-1, 3-1), who scored seven goals against eighth-ranked West Hall last Friday, were limited to Stephen Greycheck’s goal in the first half.
“We tried to play everything up out of the back,” Shirley said. “One thing we’ve worked on in practice is getting everything cleared up in the back so they can’t intercept a pass and start a counter attack.”
Morfin’s first goal of the night came in the 14th minute, when he received a kick from Johnson goalkeeper Luis Guerrero at midfield and broke through the Indian defense for the first tally of the night.
In the 27th minute, Castro buried a shot from the left side of the box to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Lumpkin County answered three minutes later, when an Indian shot slipped out of Guerrero’s hands and rolled toward Greycheck, who directed the ball to the open Johnson net.
The Knights scored the final goal of the night 10 minutes into the second half, when Vicente Trujillo fed a pass up the middle to a running Morfin, who carried it into the box and fired a shot for his second goal of the night.
“He (Juan) did a great job tonight,” Shirley said. “He had probably the best touch on the ball that he’s had all year.”
The Indians came close to making it a one-goal game with five minutes to play when an unguarded Greycheck went one-on-one with second-half goalkeeper Alan Garcia, but had his opportunity dashed as Garcia knocked the shot away. Garcia shut out the Indians in the second half after Guerrero left with an injury.
Johnson returns to action at 5 p.m. Thursday, when the play host to cross-town rival West Hall.
“It’ll be a tough game to prepare for,” Shirley said. “But I feel my boys are up to the challenge.”
Lumpkin County looks to rebound when they play host to Gainesville at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Johnson girls 4, Lumpkin County 2
The Lady Knights snapped a two-game losing streak with a region win against Lumpkin County.
Johnson (6-3, 3-3 Area 7-AAA) came alive in the second half, scoring three goals to break a 1-1 halftime tie.
“We’ve had a lot bad luck lately,” Lady Knights coach Elaine Dunahoo said. “But tonight we were able to put it behind us and come through with the win.”
Bethany Johnson recorded a hat trick for the Lady Knights, with Joanna Madrigal also scoring once.
Ana Contreras, who made her debut in goal for Johnson last Friday, made 12 saves to record her first career win.
Laura Webber had a goal and an assist and Amber Davile added a goal for Lumpkin County (4-5, 1-3).
Johnson plays host to West Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday. Lumpkin County plays host to Gainesville at 5:30 p.m. Friday.