Ripple

Central’s win streak broken by No. 3 Forbush


			
				                                Forbush’s David Medina ( 16) dribbles around Surry Central’s Jacxon Gutierrez (11).

Forbush’s David Medina ( 16) dribbles around Surry Central’s Jacxon Gutierrez (11).

DOBSON — Forbush took a two-match lead in the Foothills 2A Conference by defeating Surry Central 3-0 on Oct. 17.

Similar to the teams’ first encounter on Sept. 21, the undefeated Falcons struck first and held a 2-0 advantage at halftime. The Golden Eagles made some changes late in the first half to boast their offense and found new life in the second half.

Central even led the shot count 4-2 in the second half before a second goal from Forbush’s Donovan Mingus took the wind out of Central’s sails.

Forbush improves to 15-0-1 overall and 9-0 in the FH2A Conference.

“Job well done for Forbush,” said Surry Central coach Adan Garcia. “They came up big on their shots and they made them count. I think the score doesn’t exactly represent what my players put in, though. What I saw was two teams just grueling it out; it’s the same as every year. Regardless of what the score is, both teams are just pounding and clawing and going at it with everything they have.

“It can definitely be stressful, but I enjoy being a part of it because it challenges us and ultimately makes us better.”

Forbush, ranked No. 3 in the Oct. 17 MaxPreps poll for the 2A West, now controls its own destiny in the FH2A Conference. The Falcons are 9-0 in the conference with three matches remaining and the only team still mathematically in the title race is Surry Central at 7-2. Forbush can secure a share of the conference championship with one win in its final three FH2A matches, or win the title outright by winning 2-of-3 remaining matches.

Forbush has been particularly stingy on defense since playing Surry Central (9-7-2) the first time. The Falcons have posted shutouts in 10-of-16 matches this season, including each of past six matches and seven of their past eight.

“It sort of like the pitcher with a no-hitter: you don’t talk about it a lot,” said Forbush coach Seth Davis. “So, we don’t talk about it at practice. We don’t talk about the fact that we haven’t given up many goals during the second time through conference, it’s more of, ‘What do we need to do individually and as a team defensively to stay on the right side of the ball and not give up cheap opportunities.’

“We should’ve given up one tonight but my keeper came up big.”

The theoretical goal Davis referenced occurred during Surry Central’s second-half offense surge. Central Midfielder Chris Nava pushed into Forbush’s defensive third in the 46th minute, and instead of shooting from 35 yards out Nava navigated a minefield of Falcon defenders to put himself just outside the 18-yard box. Nava fired a shot out of the keeper’s reach, but it hit the lower part of the crossbar instead of the back of the net.

Golden Eagle Luke Creed charged forward to capitalize on the rebound while Falcon keeper Freddy Pena charged at him. Creed looked to score, but Pena threw his leg up just in time to make the stop.

“I was happy with both halves, but I was happier in the second half when we we’re taking shot after shot,” Garcia said. “I think we hit the crossbar once, the post once and the goalkeeper twice with an open goal. The keeper came out and did his job, you know, made himself big, and that was big for them.

“We had our chances, but it just shows that we’re not there yet attacking-wise. We can possess the ball all night long, but it does us no good if we can’t get it into the back of the net. I think what I want my guys to take away from this is that we’re going to have to learn fast to execute up top.”

Davis credited Garcia and the Golden Eagle coaching staff for making changes not only between halves, but between the first and second meetings between the teams. Surry Central was 3-6-1 after playing Forbush in September, but followed the match with a tie and then six consecutive victories.

“They had all the possession, it seemed like, for the second half,” Davis said. “We were sort of letting them have possession a little bit, but not in the area of the field that I wanted. We’re trying to counter them because we know they’re coming forward.”

Though the scoreboard tilted in the Falcons favor, both coaches agreed it wasn’t indicative of how close the game was at points. The coaches also concurred that the game’s environment – particularly in the second half – was great preparation for the postseason.

“You know they’re coming at you because they’ve got to win,” Davis said, referencing Central’s second-half resurgence after going down 2-0. “The coaches did a really good job of changing the formation a little bit, moving [Eli Gonzalez] to a different spot and adding some more offense. We were chasing our tail there for about 15 minutes trying to figure it out. Once that third goal went in, though, it kind of put the nail in the coffin.”

Forbush’s ability to finish made the difference in the game.

The teams were scoreless through 18 minutes of play until the Falcons’ Donovan Mingus netted 40-yard screamer to catch the Eagles off-guard. Five minutes later, Axel Garcia stood at the top of Surry Central’s 18 and found an open Bryan Galarza cutting through the box to his left. Galarza faced a sharp angle, but the lefty hit the far side-netting to double the lead.

“We settle down and we play better when we score first,” Davis said. “With them knowing they have to win now they have to score two goals. We can kind of sit back a little bit more and pick our spots, try to pick them apart. They’ve got to expose themselves a little bit more and move forward.”

Mingus struck again from distance in the 66th minute, putting an end to Central’s big comeback.

“We had a brain fart, honestly,” Garcia said. “That’s exactly how they hit us the first time when we played last time too. The guys just forgot that all Forbush’s guys can go from far, compared to us where we don’t really have that type of player yet.

“On the second goal I think we were too worried about stopping another long shot that we stepped too far into the middle and it opened up the side. Plus, the guy that scored just had a heck of a finish.”

Both squads look to maintain their top spots in the conference while also preparing for playoffs as the season winds down. Garcia saw Monday’s match as a learning experience that he hopes the team will use as motivation in the coming weeks.

“I want our guys to realize they can hang with any team,” Garcia said. “It may not show on the scoreboard just because we’re young up top with a sophomore and a freshman, but we’re going to have to have to realize we are good. We’re going to have to get over this and not think we’re not a good team just because we haven’t been able to beat Forbush. In my opinion, I think we can hang with just about any team and our moment will come.”

Forbush, meanwhile, has a pair of nonconference friendlies scheduled for the final two weeks of the season in addition to conference play. The Falcons go on the road against the 2A West’s No. 7-ranked team North Forsyth (13-4-2, 10-0 Mid-State 2A) on Oct. 20, the finish the regular season by facing the 1A West’s No. 2-ranked team Mount Airy (17-0, 10-0 Northwest 1A) on Oct. 27.

“I think those games are more preparation, so we’ll take a more relaxed atmosphere. The guys want to win them all, and I never like to lose, but it’s nice to see a playoff-type team before you go to playoffs. Then you get sort of an idea of what you need to fix going right in. You don’t want injuries or things like that.”

Scoring

Forbush – 2, 1 = 3

Surry Central – 0, 0 = 0

Goals

1H

18’ Forbush 0-1, Donovan Mingus unassisted

23’ Forbush 0-2, Bryan Galarza from Axel Garcia assist

2H

66’ Forbush 0-3, Donovan Mingus unassisted

Reach Cory on Twitter @MaNewsSports

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