By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKSBURG -- Central rode two goals by senior midfielder Stephen Truban on its way to a 3-1 win over county rival Stonewall Jackson in nondistrict boys soccer action on Friday.
With the win, the Falcons snapped a losing streak to the Generals that was started five years ago.
"It feels good -- it's been five years," said Falcons coach Ted Poor. "Both teams put their heart on the field. It's always a great game with them, and they've had our number. It was nice to return the favor -- I'm real pleased."
Stonewall Jackson (1-1) was the first to get on the scoreboard when Roberto Cardoso's free kick from about 20 yards out sailed into the back of the net to give the Generals a 1-0 lead with 24 minutes left in the first half, but it was rough going for the Generals for the remainder of the match.
The Generals could never quite seem to come up with the big goal when they needed it, and managed just the one goal despite holding a 17-7 advantage in shots on goal.
While Central's defense excelled at slowing down the Generals' attack, some of Stonewall Jackson's struggles, particularly in the second half, could have been attributed to the Generals' frustration with the officiating.
With 18:30 remaining to play in the second half and the Generals trailing 2-1, Cardoso was knocked down just inside the penalty area as he was making a move towards the goal, but no penalty was called by the referee. The Generals seemingly let their frustration affect their performance on the field after the no-call.
"We kind of came unglued with some physical play, and these guys have to learn to play through that," Generals coach Nate Hissong said. "I think it definitely affected their mindset; they didn't step up in some adversity.
"I don't think the referees had any impact on that game, but [our players] perceived it to have an impact."
Central responded to Cardoso's goal in the first half as Stephen Hamrick was shoved down in the penalty area by Generals defender Jason Albert as both battled for the ball, setting up a penalty kick for the Falcons.
Hamrick was slow to get up and limped off the field, and Truban stepped in to take the kick, sending it by Generals keeper Ryan Zerkel to knot the score at 1-all with 18:52 left in the first half.
"I think that penalty kick kind of gave us some momentum," Truban said, "and we just went ahead and put it away."
Central (2-0) added another goal three minutes later when senior forward Evan Williams took a pass from teammate Nathan Wallace-Springer and sent the ball by Zerkel to give the Falcons their first lead.
Neither team mustered much offensively until late in the second half, when Truban snuck a slow-rolling kick into the left side of the net with 13 minutes to play to essentially seal the victory and end the losing streak.
"[The ball] was really far in front of me and all I could get was just my toe on it -- placement, it was finesse rather than power," Truban said. "We haven't beaten [Stonewall Jackson] in a while and we finally got them this year, so it feels great.
"It's the first time that I've ever beat them."