By Nick Hampton
FORT GIBSON – Class 4A’s top-ranked Fort Gibson Tigers proved to be too much for the Hilldale Hornets as junior forward Zach Cobler scored three goals to keep the Tigers undefeated on the season at 4-0, beating Hilldale 8-0.
“Early on in the season we’ve had problems scoring a lot of goals and even in the first half tonight we let some goals get away from us in one-on-one situations that we should have finished,” said Tigers coach Todd Friend. “But I was proud of our guys in the second half when we came out and scored in the first 40 seconds.”
For the Hornets (1-4), there weren’t a lot of positives about the game according to coach Brent Breckon with the possible exception of the play of his son, Michael, who came up with 13 saves in goal, several of them in those one-on-ones.
“He did a great job. If Michael doesn’t have all those saves it would have been 10-0 10 or 15 minutes into the second half,” said Breckon. “Again, as we’ve talked about before it’s all about marking up on defense and we’re just not getting it done.”
Besides the hat trick for Cobler, Johan Chavez had a pair of goals as did Austin Ford while Nick Bailey put in one to round out the Fort Gibson scoring.
The Tigers will begin district play Thursday at Poteau, which is second in the Okrankings.com coaches poll.
FGHS 4, Hilldale 0
Sports headlines are usually reserved for those on offense that score the winning basket, touchdown or, in the case of soccer, goals.
But it was the domination of the midfield and defense by the Lady Tigers that spelled the big difference as they shut out the Lady Hornets at Leo Donahue Tiger Stadium Tuesday night. But defense was also a bright spot in the game for Hilldale, according to coach Brent Breckon.
“The girls played with a lot of heart and desire. We’ve worked hard on defense and it was just 2-0 until late in the game,” said Breckon. “We played Fort Gibson in a preseason tournament and gave up four goals in 50 minutes. Tonight, we played 80 minutes and gave up just four goals.”
The Lady Tigers, ranked No. 3, were led by Jordan Raynor with a pair of first-half goals while Brooke Benham had a goal and an assist and Gabby Escamillia put in the final goal off a deflection by Hilldale goalie Nicole Wright, who also had two great saves off shots by Raynor.
Despite having 23 shots on goal, Lady Tigers coach Jamie Snyder was not displeased with the offensive output of her team.
“I would like to have seen a little more in the way of goals but give Hilldale’s defense a lot of credit for that,” said Snyder. “They’re much improved in just the second year of having a soccer program. There were a couple of shots in the first half that I thought we should have finished but otherwise I’m pretty well pleased with the win.”
For the Lady Tigers (3-1), the stakes become higher as they begin district play Thursday at Poteau.
“We played Glenpool, which is No.1 in the state and Catoosa, which is No. 4,” said Snyder. “We beat Glenpool and lost to Catoosa, so I think we’re right there. I’d like us to play a little bit more consistent but our non-district schedule really helped me see where we are compared to the other top teams in the state.”
The Lady Hornets (1-4) will play in the Stilwell tournament this weekend before getting into district play next week.