Jackson holds off pesky Central 3-1 in soccer showdown

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Cape Central's Myles Edwards and Jackson's Clayton Baker go after the ball during the first half of a game on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, in Jackson. (Kristin Eberts)

The Jackson Indians' defense was dominant.

The offense took care of the rest as the host Indians knocked off district rival Central 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Jackson's (6-1) defense only has allowed two goals this season, one to Marion, Ill., and one against Central.

The defense showed why it's been successful Tuesday.

The Indians consistently shut down all of the Tigers' lanes, which gave Central (5-6) very little opportunity for offense.

Jackson's Austin Gammon chases the ball after Central's Calvin Lovig fell down during Tuesday's game in Jackson. (Kristin Eberts)

"Besides that one goal, the backs played well," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "Cape was throwing three guys up in the second half and bypassing the midfield and our defense did a nice job of running down balls and playing them to the offense."

The Indians jumped out early on offense.

Nick Rangel sped past a Central defender, made a crafty move and fed forward Law Duncan, whose shot from the top of the box sailed wide just minutes into the contest.

The Indians capitalized on an early opportunity minutes later.

Jackson's Ryan Schlick beat his man down the end line and played a low liner across the box that was deflected to Zack Taylor, who buried the shot in the back of the net.

Cape Central's Vance Toole and Jackson's Ryan Schlick go for a header during the first half of a game on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, in Jackson. (Kristin Eberts)

"The first one is always important," Taylor said. "But we have to keep trying to get more."

Added Walton: "That's big. Any time playing against a big rival, to get the first goal takes the pressure off. I think our boys knew the pressure was on and the target was on our backs."

While the Indians took advantage early, the Tigers refused to back down.

Central was outmatched in the experience aspect with a starting lineup featuring four freshmen.

"The biggest thing, I think, is that it isn't a conference game," Central coach Dan Martin said. "We only have three senior starters and we have four freshmen starting. So for them to experience this before going into a conference game is nice."

Jackson's Ryan Schlick, left, and Central's Austin Shupert fight for the ball during the first half Tuesday.

The Indians continued to control the first half.

Jackson added an insurance goal after maintaining possession for nearly the entire opening half.

Hunter Garrison stole a ball from a Central defender near midfield and fed a streaking Brice Steger, who poked it past a charging goalie for a 2-0 lead.

"That second goal is nice to get," Walton said. "We had our opportunities to get it, but I felt good about it. I thought we played really well. We missed a few opportunities, but give Cape credit. They didn't back down. They battled."

The Tigers finally found an opportunity to score while trailing 2-0 in the second half.

Jackson players congratulate Zack Taylor (7) on scoring the team's first goal against Central during the first half of Tuesday's game. (Kristin Eberts)

The Tigers' Chandler Bagley drew a foul just outside the box eight minutes into the half.

Central played a low ball across the box that was flicked on to Vance Toole, who buried it near post to bring the Tigers within 2-1.

"Jackson's good," Martin said. "They took it to us. They are a strong team. But to go down 1-0, we didn't panic. I saw our heads drop a little bit, but we responded. We talked at half and switched it up. The goal was huge. We knew that the next goal was make it or break it, either going down 3-0 or being within a goal. We tried to put pressure on them."

The Indians clung to a one-goal lead until late in the second half, when they capitalized on a counter attack.

Clayton Baker played a bending ball to the left side of the box that found Taylor, who buried it past a sliding goalkeeper to put the game out of reach.

"That was great," Taylor said. "I'm sure it made the team feel a lot better, but we still had to keep working hard."

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