FLATWOODS Boyd County found some breathing room on Tuesday night in what had been an uber-tight boys soccer series with Russell.
Scoreless midway through the first half, the Lions tallied three times in 10 minutes to break open a 6-0 victory over the Red Devils.
Boyd County and Russell split two meetings last season, each winning on the other’s field. The Lions prevailed 1-0 in Flatwoods, and the Red Devils won in kicks from the mark in Cannonsburg, which was the Lions’ first regular-season district loss in four years.
Because of that, Boyd County coach Logan Price conceded “a little bit” of surprise at the margin, but not at the result.
“These are young kids,” Price said. “They don’t forget things. We’re not professionals. Professionals will say, you know, put that behind you. These are guys that use that for motivation. (Russell coach) Randy (Vanover) and them came into our place last year and beat us on Senior Night. They didn’t forget that. Motivation was there to play.”
JB Walter scored twice for Boyd County (3-0, 2-0 63rd District seeding). Grant Chaffin, Cameron Gibson, Rylan Keelin and Cole Thompson each ripped the twine too.
With the win, the Lions secured the top seed in the district tournament and with it passage to the district final and the 16th Region Tournament, which Boyd County will host.
“It’s a sigh of relief,” Price said. “We didn’t shy away from that either at practice. We said, you win, you stamp your ticket into districts and region at your own house. So the boys had plenty of momentum. They could’ve just looked across the way and said, it’s Russell-Boyd. Let’s play. But they had multiple things (to play for).”
The Lions had a tough time getting going early on — “Randy and them, that’s what they do,” Price said. “They definitely make it ugly, which I think is a great game plan” — but got rolling when Chaffin knocked in a rebound in the 27th minute.
Gibson booted a ball home six minutes later, and Walter followed suit less than four minutes from halftime.
The Lions doubled their output in the second half. Keelin put a penalty kick in the bottom right corner of the net in the 64th minute, Walter headed in Hayden Salyers’s pass seven minutes later and Thompson redirected a free kick that had bounced off the crossbar in the 76th minute.
Price credited “leadership, plain and simple” from the Lions’ experienced upperclassmen “of them realizing, calm down, play smart, because we had a lot of mental mistakes the first half, just playing out of our game.”
Vanover said the Red Devils (0-2, 0-1 district seeding) will “learn from it and get better,” but wasn’t shy about how Tuesday felt.
“It’s on us,” he said. “(Boyd County) played well. Hats off to them. We didn’t play well. In all phases of the game, we did not play well. ... We’re gonna have a film session on Friday, which we desperately need.”
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