OAKWOOD — Johnson executed its gameplan to perfection in a 4-1 win over West Hall on Friday night at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium.
Everything seemed to go right for the Knights, even Juan Morfin’s post-goal celebration. After he lofted a second half breakaway shot over the keeper’s head and into the left side of the net, he darted toward the sideline and lifted his shirt, revealing a pink undershirt that read “Kayla, Prom?”
The message was for Kayla Madsen, a forward for the Lady Knights soccer team. She said yes, and Morfin and his teammates celebrated and laughed. The referee wasn’t as amused, however, and issued Morfin with a yellow card.
“I’m pretty happy about the situation,” said Morfin, a senior who this week earned The Times Athlete of the Week honors. “It was worth the yellow card. It’s senior year and it’s time to go out and have some fun. Her face was priceless. She got all red, but she liked it.
“She knows she did.”
Knights coach Brian Shirley was aware of Morfin’s plan and was OK with it.
“I knew he was going to do it,” he said. “It’s his senior year and I knew it was coming. But he’s an integral part of this team, so I let him go ahead and do it and have a little fun. He never puts himself ahead of the team for the most part, and what he’s done the past four years, he earned the right to do that.”
The fourth-ranked Knights (6-0, 5-0 Region 8-AAA) controlled the game from the start, out-shooting West Hall 11-2 in a scoreless first half. They came out on fire in the second half, converting four of their first five shots into goals, including two from junior forward Edgar Ochoa.
“We’re more of a second half team,” said Ochoa, who scored at the 28:15 and 19:18 marks. “Our first half, we basically see how the team plays and then second half is when we play our best.”
Ben Cervantes opened the scoring six minutes into the second half off a corner kick, and Morfin’s goal came with 20:54 remaining.
The Knights nearly had a shutout, but West Hall’s Darwin Barron snuck 25-yard shot from the right side of the field over the outstretched arms of Knights keeper Josh Martin and into the left corner of the net.
“We wanted (the shutout) bad,” Ochoa said. “We wanted a murder. We wanted a kill. It didn’t happen, but we’re satisfied with the win.”
Martin finished with four saves and the Knights out-shot West Hall 21-6 for the game.
Spartans coach Wolfgang Jager blamed the loss on field conditions, with the field still wet from earlier showers.
“The ground was difficult,” he said. “The ground was in their favor and they could handle the field. It was slick and my guys fell a lot.”
Johnson returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at East Hall. No. 10 West Hall (2-3-1, 0-1) hosts Monroe Area at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The girls teams take the field at 5:30 p.m.
JOHNSON GIRLS 4, WEST HALL 2: The Lady Knights improved to 5-0-1 and 5-0 in 8-AAA despite playing short-handed after a Johnson player was red carded for running into the Lady Spartans’ keeper. Bethany Johnson scored two goals and Kayla Madsen and Bethany Johnson each had one for the Lady Knights.
The 10th-ranked Lady Spartans fell to 4-2-1 (0-1) 8-AAA.