Central coach Dan Martin understands the growing pains Saxony Lutheran is enduring.
His team experienced them the past several years.
But the Tigers continued to demonstrate they have left that stage behind with a 5-0 home victory Tuesday over the Crusaders.
"They're young," Martin said. "[Saxony coach Ryan Schweain] has a lot of young players. I understand. We've been going through that. It was nice to come out and control a game."
The Tigers (8-6) experienced several down seasons in recent years, but they are building a strong 2012 campaign.
The Crusaders (5-6) hung tough in the opening 20 minutes, playing stout defense and limiting Central to mediocre chances.
"The first 20 minutes, it was scoreless, but that was OK," Martin said. "Just trying to concentrate on possession and snapping the ball around. We came off of three losses up in St. Louis in good competition, so it was good to leave that in St. Louis and play our style, which eventually came through, which was good."
Eric Craiglow broke Central out of an early funk.
Craiglow was on the receiving end of a beautiful cross from Chandler Bagley and rifled a shot into the far net to open the scoring.
"Chandler had a great ball across, and I just kind of put it in for him," Craiglow said.
Bagley was far from finished.
The junior midfielder was in the middle of everything. Bagley started at midfielder, netted two goals, and then played defense the remainder of the game.
"He's had a great year," Martin said about Bagley. "He always wins the end line and gets several assists and gets his goals when he needs to."
Bagley's first goal came with nine minutes left in the opening half.
Saxony attempted to clear a cross, but the ball rolled right to Bagley at the 18-yard box. He hit a bullet that whizzed past several defenders and into the back of the net.
"I just mainly wanted to call for the ball and find other people's feet," Bagley said. "And then whenever I had an open shot, I'd put it on goal."
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead into halftime with some help from Saxony. The Crusaders had miscommunication in the backfield that led to an own goal with two minutes remaining in the half.
Bagley put the game away halfway through the second half.
He took a pass down the left sideline, got to the box, cut back right and buried one into the low right part of the net.
"We did a good job of swinging the ball, that's for sure," Bagley said. "We found people's feet more than we usually do. We just attacked with end-line play, overlaps, and one-twos. It was a good game."
Logan Sprandel created several chances for Saxony, with the best two opportunities coming in the second half.
Sprandel nearly took advantage of a Central turnover in the backfield. He beat his man, and pushed a shot just wide of the net.
He later drew a penalty in the box, but his penalty shot was saved by Central keeper Austin Bagley.
"Central's a good team," Schweain said. "I knew they'd be tough to play with, but we're improving."
The Tigers closed out the scoring when Jonah Roop won a ball, made a move, and lofted a shot into the net.
"It got away from us a little bit," Schweain said. "But we're a young team with a tough schedule. We knew we might have some tough ones this year."