The Bulldogs have been a second-half team this season.
Nothing wrong with that Monday night.
Centerville stormed the net for four goals in the final 40 minutes on the way to a 5-1 victory over Knightstown in the opening round of the Class A boys soccer sectional tournament hosted by the Bulldogs.
Next up is a semifinal showdown with Seton Catholic on Wednesday at Centerville’s soccer field. Union County and Union City play in the other semifinal at 5 p.m., followed by the Bulldogs and the Cardinals at 7.
“We never stopped playing hard,” said Centerville’s Cody Weiss, who scored one of the four Bulldog goals in the second half. “We went 100 percent, both halves.”
The Bulldogs are in the hunt for a second straight sectional title.
They started on the right foot Monday, taking a 1-0 lead into hafltime after a goal by David Hatch.
One became two pretty quickly in the second half.
Conner Dillion struck about 10 minutes in, followed about 10 minutes later by Weiss’ goal.
Triston Flannery and Trevor Miller finished off the Centerville scoring.
“We really needed it,” Centerville senior Kyle Jones said of opening the tournament with a win. “We stayed focused. That’s what we tell everybody before the game — just do your best.”
William Smith broke through for Knightstown’s lone goal late in the game to avoid the shutout. Centerville goalkeeper Casey Crumbaugh helped keep the Panthers out of the net the rest of the way.
“This is our third time playing them this year, and you don’t know what to expect,” Centerville coach David Barnett said of Knightstown. “That’s what you get ready for is the sectional. We’re glad to get that first win.”
Centerville (8-8-1) will see yet another regular-season opponent on Wednesday. The ‘Dogs downed Seton 5-0 in late August.
That game, too, featured a second-half surge by Centerville. The Bulldogs led 1-0 at halftime then before pulling away with four goals in the second half.
“We’ve always been that second-half team, for whatever reason,” Barnett said. “It was good to get out ahead early and keep the pressure up.
“I want to see a full game (Wednesday), intensity. I want to see them playing as a team for two halves. … We want to put together a complete package, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
The Bulldogs are also looking for a trip to Saturday’s 1 p.m. sectional final, and with it a shot at another regional tournament.
“Our passing was great, our talking,” Weiss said.
“I’m looking forward to Wednesday and it’s a great thing to be playing.”