Falcons boys fall to Eagles

Central's Elmer Lopez dribbles past Clarke County's Keaton Leta during the first half of Tuesday night's game in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Central had to deal with some injuries and a depleted squad on Tuesday night, but the Falcons still put up a fight against Clarke County in rainy conditions.

The Eagles were able to take a one-goal halftime lead and held on for a 2-1 Bull Run District boys soccer win over Central.

“The boys never stopped trying – that’s good,” Central coach Ted Poor said. “We dominated a lot of the play. We had more shots than them. We just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net at the end of the day – that’s the way it goes.”

Poor said the Falcons had lost a couple players to injury last week, and then had a few more get injured during the game.

The Falcons (9-3) were able to take an early lead on a direct kick by senior Julian Higgs with about 21 minutes left in the first half.

Central's Korey Wolford puts his arm around Julian Higgs after Higgs scored a goal during first half action Tuesday night against Clarke County. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I just, I lined it up and I just shot it through the middle,” Higgs said of his direct kick. “I just kicked it as hard as I could.”

“It was beautiful,” Poor said of Higgs’ goal. “Julian’s got a great shot. Julian can crack the ball, and if nobody gets in the way of it it’s going in the net.”

Central’s lead didn’t last long as the Eagles (7-4-2) scored on a goal by Henry Leta with 18 minutes left in the first half.

Just 10 minutes later, Leta scored again on a shot from about 20 yards away placed in the corner of the net for a 2-1 Clarke County lead.

“Henry, up top, he did what he needed to do,” Clarke County coach Scott House said. “He was a beast tonight. Kept pressing their back line and pressing them, and that definitely helped us out tonight.”

Central's Dean Woodwell is sandwiched between Clarke County's Ivan Alvardo, left, and Keaton Leta, right, during Tuesday night's game in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

House said he moved Leta from a wing to the middle this season, and it has really paid off for the team.

“He’s really turned out to be a heck of a striker for us up top,” House said. “… He works really hard to make the team better. He’s doing his part, and it’s been showing up the past few games for us.”

The Falcons had plenty of chances in the second half to tie the game. Central controlled play in the second half, but couldn’t get any shots to go in.

House said that they were focused on stopping Central’s Korey Wolford and Elmer Lopez and it paid off.

“Our game plan was to try to neutralize (Lopez) and (Wolford). I thought we did a really good job of that — we tried to limit their direct shots on us,” House said. “That’s a good team. Just taking those two out, the rest of the team is extremely talented too. So we were taking a little bit of a chance using some of our players to try to do that. But it definitely worked for us tonight. I couldn’t be much prouder of this group.”

Central's Korey Wolford pushes the ball down the field during the first half of Tuesday's game against Clarke County. Rich Cooley/Daily

House said he was really happy with the play of his defense against a strong Central offense. He said that Thomas Detwiler, Keaton Leta, Graham Smith and Ian Smith have played a key role in the Eagles’ success this year.

“Those four guys, all season long, they’ve been hard for teams to break us down,” House said. “We’re limiting goals and keeping games tight, which helps keep us in it.”

The Falcons beat the Eagles, 2-0, earlier this year. There’s a chance the two teams will meet again in the Conference 35 tournament.

“We’ll see them again in the conference tournament,” Poor said. “It will be a great match.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com