MINUS THREE starters, the East Jackson boys’ soccer team (5-5-1, 2-2) fell 5-0 to subregion-leading North Oconee Tuesday on the road.
The Titans scored four first-half goals en route to the win.
“We were missing three starting players and looked flat from the beginning of the game,” East Jackson head coach Chris Cooley said. “North Oconee does a good job attacking corners and through the center, and we gave them far too much space and time.”
Cooley added that he and the team were “not too happy” about being shut out for the first time this year.
While the loss was disappointing, Cooley said his team’s focus hasn’t changed.
“We have to win against Elbert County and JCCHS to finish second in the sub-region,” he said. “That will give us a strong spot going into playoffs. So we’re putting last night’s game behind us and looking at the next two region games.”
The Eagles were coming off a 5-1 subregion win over Jefferson Friday.
East Jackson scored three times in the second half to pull away. Luis Ponce finished with two goals on the night.
East Jackson led 2-0 at intermission after getting goals from Ponce and Nick Alvarado. Jake Pitcher upped the lead to 3-0 with a score in the 48th minute followed by Ponce’s second score, which came in the 61st minute. Jonathan Zarco capped East Jackson’s scoring with a goal in the 75th minute.
The turning point, Cooley said, was when his team was able to start sending the ball up and also began controlling the center of the field. Then East Jackson’s ability to finish “was the difference,” Cooley said.
Jefferson broke its streak of three consecutive shutouts with a goal from Dakota Thompson in the 76th minute. It was the Dragons’ first goal since Feb. 28.
East Jackson would have liked to have a shutout but had moved players around to different positions by the end of the game. Still, shutouts are one of the Eagles’ objectives for the season.