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Jackson boys soccer team zaps Central in Class 3 District 1 semis
The Central Tigers were hoping the fourth time was a charm.
Jackson made sure it wasn't.
The Indians beat the Tigers for the fourth time this season, this victory a 4-0 whipping in the Class 3 District 1 boys soccer semifinals.
"That was our fourth time playing them and they've always looked good playing us," Central coach Dan Martin said. "But I thought they came out and they knew what was on the line and they were the better team, and they showed it."
Jackson dominated nearly all 80 minutes.
The Indians outshot Central 24-1.
"We came out and we just worked hard," Jackson senior Ryan Schlick said. "I feel like we dominated it in the middle and that helped to keep possession and everything. And our backs did a great job with keeping the ball out of the back."
The Indians didn't take advantage of all their chances, but they took advantage of enough.
"I thought we did a nice job of possessing the ball and knocking it around," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "We had some really good opportunities in there. We didn't finish on a few, but we didn't panic and we hung in there and we got one. We told the boys at the half, 'Continue doing what you're doing. Keep knocking the ball around. We don't care who scores, just pass the ball and it will come. Don't panic.' And they did a nice job of that."
The Tigers managed to hang in the game for 40 minutes, only trailing 1-0 at half.
It was a coaching change that helped Central survive in the opening half.
Martin quickly switched his three forward approach to one and dropped several players back to help defend.
"Honestly we started the game with three strikers and we couldn't find any of them, so then we dropped more numbers to try to get out 0-0 or 1-0 at half," Martin said. "In the second half, we tried to change it up a little bit because we knew down a goal we had to attack, but there was just no beating Jackson tonight."
The Indians scored 22 minutes into the game when Zachary Taylor hit a perfect corner to the back post and Austin Gammon headed it back across the net for a 1-0 lead.
"The ball was coming over. As it was going over, the guy in front of me jumped," Gammon said. "I knew as soon as he jumped I was going to get there first, so I just took it and got it in."
That was all Jackson mustered in the first half as Central seemed content sitting back and trying to find a few good moments to attack.
"They came out and played defensively," Walton said. "They basically tried to play one guy up top and tried to stretch us a little bit with their guys out wide and playing targets out there. That was their game plan, and honestly it was probably the best game plan. It made me a little nervous. Any time you put that many kids in the box and play that good of defense, it makes it hard to score, and that showed in the first half. They did a nice job with that kind of stuff."
The Tigers were forced to attack in the second half, and Jackson made them pay.
Schlick took a ball in the midfield and played it to Keagan Cavanah, who back-heeled the ball to a streaking Schlick near the top of the box. Schlick smoothly put it past a charging Central keeper five minutes into the half.
"I gave it to him and I called for the ball and luckily he got back to me and I finished it," Schlick said. "It was pretty big. It gave us comfort room."
It was one of several occasions where the Tigers lost their marks.
"Any time you let [Schlick] take the ball down the field and get in the box, it's going to end up bad," Martin said. "Again, we lost our marks all night. He was one of the guys we were trying to mark all night, and he snuck through and got the ball and had an excellent finish."
The second goal helped the Indians relax, while the Tigers seemed completely lost and out of energy.
"You could tell they were getting a little tired," Walton said. "I think that second goal that went in really kind of took the air out of them a little bit. And that helped us a lot right there. You could tell once that happened it was a big momentum swing for us too."
The Indians tacked on a goal midway through the second half and another with a minute left in the game.
They advanced to take on Northwest in Thursday's 6 p.m. district title game.
Jackson defeated Northwest 3-2 in penalty kicks earlier in the season.