Brooke Defeats Harrison Central

Photo by Andrew Grimm Brooke’s Hunter Adams passes the ball past Harrison Central’s Eric Leech on Saturday.

WELLSBURG — The Brooke boys soccer team and junior midfielder Josh Ferguson had one thing on its mind on Saturday — avenging last season’s loss to Harrison Central that was shrouded in controversy and saw ejections.

Ferguson led the way for the Bruins with three goals and an assist in a 6-2 victory at the Brooke Soccer Field and had what happened in Cadiz last season front and center in his mind the entire time.

“It was in the back of my mind since I woke up,” Ferguson said of avenging last year’s loss. “I didn’t want to win by one or two goals. I wanted to put numbers up on this team, and that is exactly what we did.

“They were kind of the reason we went on a losing streak — they just beat us around. We played horrible, and they got in our heads. I wanted payback on this team, and I gave them exactly that. Our team gave them that.”

The loss to the Huskies, according to Brooke coach Joe Pepe, was the start of a tough ending to the season. Starting the new campaign off with a win over the Huskies was just the start he wanted.

“It is a nice way to start the season,” Pepe said. “This was one of the teams that started our downfall to not making the OVACs last year. We went over there, and they ended up beating us 3-1. They are a very-good team. They had a couple good scorers coming back, which we knew, and a very good defense coming back, which we also knew. We worked on it. Take nothing away from Harrison Central.

“We have some good quality kids here. We had a good talk (Friday) about mindset and heart. We needed this win to get off to a good start to the season because our road does not get any easier. It gives us something to build from. It is a good confidence builder.”

The Bruins scored four times in the second half after holding a slim 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Pepe said he made several adjustments during the break, and they worked.

“We made some changes,” Pepe said. “We watch and we see. If we can hold on through the first half, we can make some changes in the second half.”

Harrison Central was coming off of an 8 p.m. game Friday night, a 3-3 tie with Sandy Valley, and had transportation problems, delaying the team’s arrival to Brooke on Saturday.

“We had a pretty tough game with Sandy Valley, who is much improved,” Harrsion Central coach Derek Gramling said. “We had some delays in getting here, so we weren’t fresh. It just fell apart in the second half. We were a little tired, but it doesn’t excuse the mistakes. It is the second game of the season; everyone should be fresh. It just wasn’t our day. It was an accumulation of individual mistakes and not doing the basics.”

It appeared as though the Bruins had opened the scoring in the first two minutes when Nick Cruny connected, but the officials determined he was offsides and disallowed the goal.

Hunter Adams’ conversion of a cross pass from Blaise Buchmelter a few minutes later did count, however, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Ferguson’s first goal in the 27th minute made the advantage two, connecting from in close with an assist from Adams.

The Huskies got on the board just over a minute later when senior Evan Stine worked the ball around defenders close to the goal after receiving a throw in from Dylan Redish and fired a shot high into the top of the net.

That was as close as it would be, however.

Cruny took a shot and Liam Cronin deposited the rebound off of Harrison Central goalkeeper Job Positano into the net to make it 3-1 less than five minutes into the second half. Cruny scored one of his own with an assist from Matthew Reed — who played goal for the Bruins in the first half and made eight saves — to make it a 4-1 advantage.

Ferguson finished his mission with the final two goals for the Bruins. He scored less than three minutes after Cruny, getting in behind the defense and finishing the opportunity, then buried a rebound with 12:11 to play, making it 6-1.

“This was exactly what we needed to start,” Ferguson said. “We only have 18 kids this year … but we have 18 kids that want to play. They are a good team and most of them are friendly and respectful. It was a good game. “

Stine scored a long range goal with 17 seconds left to make it 6-2, but the outcome was already decided.

Both teams are back in action on the road Tuesday. Harrison Central takes on Steubenville at Harding Stadium, while the Bruins travel to Wheeling to take on Wheeling Park.

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