Skyline boys can’t hold early lead, get blown out by James Wood

WINCHESTER – Skyline High School’s boys soccer team needed less than three minutes to find the back of the net against James Wood on Friday evening, but a lopsided second half in favor of the Colonels turned the Northwestern District matchup into a rout on the soggy turf at Wood’s Jerry Kelican Stadium.

The visiting Hawks surrendered two goals late in the first half and four more in the second as James Wood rolled to a 6-1 victory in a match played through steady rainfall. The loss snapped Skyline’s three-game winning streak.

“We lost a little focus,” Hawks head coach Steve Carey said.

“A couple bad bounces when we got behind and they were playing far better possession than we were, so it worked out better for them.”

Skyline (6-9, 0-7 Northwestern), coming off an overtime victory over rival Warren County in which the Hawks trailed 3-0 at halftime, needed far less time to get going on Friday against the Colonels (6-8, 3-4).

Barely two minutes into the action, Hawks junior forward Brody Jones broke loose behind the defense, gathered a pass from teammate Logan Porterfield near the top of the penalty box, hesitated to send a pair of defenders racing past him and fired a shot past goalkeeper Ethan Russell to give Skyline a quick 1-0 lead.

“It was kind of a weird goal. I don’t that most of the guys knew it went in,” Carey said. “I don’t think anybody knew how to react. We got up but that wasn’t the momentum swing we were hoping for, that’s for sure.”

Skyline’s lead remained intact until late in the first half, when Wood struck for a pair of goals over the final eight minutes before the break to take the momentum into halftime.

Colonels senior Liam Ebert – who finished the match with three assists – got his team’s first scoring sequence started when he sent a cross pass to the foot of Aidan Houser in the box. Houser tapped the ball to Wesley Walker, who scored the tying goal.

James Wood took the lead with just over two minutes left in the half when Damon Schneider beat Hawks goalkeeper Luke Jacobson (eight saves) with a shot off Ebert’s cross pass through the box to the far post.

“High school soccer is so big on momentum,” Wood head coach Brian Sullivan said, “and so once we got that first goal going in, they looked up and they said all right, things are gonna be OK. It really helps us build confidence. … I told them at halftime we’ve got the momentum, let’s go get the first goal of the second half. And we did, and then it’s fun after that.”

The Colonels extended their lead with a goal nine minutes into the second half when Chris Lakin scored off the rebound of his first shot that hit a Skyline defender in front of the net. Misael Ortega scored off Ebert’s corner kick nine minutes later to give James Wood a 4-1 lead.

Xavier Kallash-Kyler’s goal with 13 minutes to play gave James Wood a four-goal lead, and Paul Ebersole became the sixth different Colonel to score in the match when he converted on a header off another Ebert corner kick with less than three minutes to play.

James Wood outshot Skyline 23-6 in the win, a lopsided total powered by the Colonels’ 15-2 advantage in the second half.

“I thought the first 10 or 12 that we came out asleep and we were trying to possess the ball a lot more,” Sullivan said. “We really didn’t make any adjustments necessarily defensively, we just told our guys let’s keep more possession. You’ve got more time than you think, let’s not turn the ball over, because the first 10, 15 minutes we would get the ball cleared out and then come right back in. So once we kept more possession, we were more successful.”

Carey said the Hawks failed to consistently work the ball up from the back of their formation, something they were able to do with success in the second half against Warren County on Wednesday.

“We weren’t doing that today and that worked against us,” he said, “especially on a sloppy field, sloppy conditions.”

Skyline wraps up its regular season on Monday against Millbrook before beginning play in the Conference 28 tournament later next week.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com

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