By Jeff Nations
FRONT ROYAL -- It was a good thing the clock kept ticking off the minutes for Fauquier's boys soccer team against Warren County on Tuesday night.
Had the game gone much longer, there might not have been any Falcons left on the field. Two Fauquier players were ejected -- goalkeeper Zach Allen was the first -- and the Falcons' bench got in on the action with a yellow card in the Wildcats' 4-2 Evergreen District victory.
With both teams flashing much more skill than their sub-.500 records might suggest, it was the host Wildcats who cashed in on the most opportunities to pull their season record back to even.
"I think the midfield really took control," Warren County coach Manuel Alban said. "Once the midfield got the ball on the ground, they were able to gain control and push them back."
Warren County (4-4-1, 1-1 Evergreen) got a picture-perfect goal off Britt Cupp's header just five minutes into the game. Teammate Johannes Dyck set up the score with a pinpoint throw-in that sailed directly toward the net. Allen swatted the long toss away, right to Britt for the header from the top of the penalty box.
"I couldn't have gotten a better pass," Britt said. "I just tried to hit it straight over the keeper."
The Wildcats kept up sporadic pressure in the first half, but Allen turned away three good chances to keep Fauquier (1-6, 0-2 Evergreen) within a goal.
The Wildcats struck fast in the second half to gain some breathing room. Warren County's Kellen Lyons slipped a pass in the penalty area to Demetrus Yates, who snapped off a shot that Allen managed to deflect. Yates was there for the loose ball, though, and punched in the follow to put his team up 2-0.
The Falcons came back with a goal off a set-piece play when Brandon Keithley knocked in a loose ball after a scramble in the box on a corner kick.
It went downhill from there for Fauquier. Allen earned a yellow card to set up an indirect kick, and Dyck converted off Cupp's tap pass to put Warren County back up by two goals with 25:50 to play.
Five minutes later, Allen was gone after notching another yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct. Lyons knocked home the ensuing penalty kick to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.
Despite playing a man down, Fauquier got one last goal on Zachary Faith's hard shot that slipped between Wildcats goalkeeper Tristan Ward's legs.
More cards followed for the Falcons, though, as coach Kevin James got a yellow after arguing from the sideline and Gideon Nigh got a red card in the closing minutes.
For Warren County, Ward finished with five saves -- all in the second half.
Alban has been pleased with the Wildcats' progress this season and thinks they could be a real factor in the district race.
"Just watch out for them at the end of the season," Alban said. "They should be a raging machine. That's what I expect."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>