As Gabriel Carrillo was streaking down the field late in the game against North Hall on Tuesday, Johnson coach Brian Shirley yelled from the sideline for Carrillo to shoot.
He did, and the ball found the back of the net with .4 seconds left on the clock and set Shirley into a frenzy.
And to think, that goal was just the icing on the Knights’ 3-1 win over the Trojans.
“We always get hyped up for North Hall,” said Shirley, whose team has won five straight. “We came out flat and missed a bunch of shots on goal that made this game a lot closer than it needed to be.”
Both teams missed several scoring opportunities, and while the Knights’ failed attempts made the score close, the Trojans’ errant shots prevented them from an upset win.
“We had a flurry of chances,” North Hall coach Kenny Childs said. “We moved to a 3-4 formation and that generated some offense, but it can come back to haunt you which it did at the end.”
The switch in formation led to North Hall’s only goal that was scored by Nathan Jones after a hard shot was turned away by Johnson’s Luis Carrerro, who finished with two saves.
Johnson (7-2, 4-1 Area 7-AAA) responded quickly when Vincente Trujillo scored on a free kick from just outside the right side of the penalty area. Trujillo assisted on the Knights’ first goal which was scored by Juan Morfin with 28:23 left in the first half.
After the game, Shirley complimented the play of Trujillo and Chris Henry, who both controlled the middle of the field against North Hall (1-6-1, 1-5).
“They both did a great job,” Shirley said. “We didn’t play perfect, but considering the pressure and physical play from North Hall, what they did in the center of the field was big.”
The physical play, which was used to combat the speed of the Knights, led to two yellow cards for each team.
“They didn’t have a position on the field that wasn’t quick and that makes it tough to beat them,” Childs said. “They’re as good as anybody we’ve played all year and we haven’t seen anybody with their quickness.”
The ability to get past and around the defense led to 25 shots for the Knights which put pressure on North Hall’s goalie Andres Castrejohn, who was starting in place of the injured Michael Head. Castrejohn finished with 15 saves, including several diving stops that prevented sure goals.
“They have a heck of an attack,” said Childs, whose team has now lost four straight. “(Castrejohn) stepped up and played about as well as he could.”
But the Knights were too explosive and complete on both sides of the ball which is the product of a roster that boasts 12 seniors and eight players that are on the same select team.
“This region’s tough,” Shirley said. “But I think we’re still in the mix for a region title.”
The Knights look to increase their win streak to six games when they play host to West Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Friday. North Hall will try and halt its losing streak Friday when it visits East Hall.
NORTH HALL GIRLS 2, JOHNSON 0: Tess Patton scored in the opening 10 minutes to propel the Lady Trojans to a win Tuesday in Gainesville.
Allie Wright added an insurance goal with 9:57 left in the game for North Hall (3-4-1, 3-3 Area 7-AAA).
Gabby Smith recorded seven saves for the Lady Trojans, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Johnson (4-4, 2-3) plays host to West Forsyth and North Hall visits East Hall at 6 p.m. Friday.