Eastside’s boy’s soccer team blitzed Pickens for five second-half goals Thursday night and captured the Peach Blossom AAA contest 8-1.
The Eagles, top ranked in AAA in South Carolina, jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first half behind two goals by sophomore Conner Hubbard. He added a third goal during the team’s 5-1 run in the second half.
“Fantastic player,” coach Nomar Rodriguez said of Hubbard. “He’s good at everything, basically. He’s good at possession. He shoots with both feet. He does everything well.”
Eastside, which has lost just once this season, emphasizes its team strength of controlling possession. The Eagles did that throughout Thursday night’s game.
“That’s what we practice, that’s what we focus on,” said Rodriguez, who is in his first year as head coach after three years as an assistant at Eastside. “Every practice, every session that we’re out there. We just try to bring what we do in practice to the game field.”
Tanner Corley began the scoring for the Eagles with a goal at 34:20 of the first half. Hubbard scored on a penalty kick at 19:55. Then, just over a minute later, he scored again by taking the rebound of his first shot past the goalie.
The teams combined for three goals within a two-minute period early in the second half. After two Eastside goals, Jacob Deaton beat the goalie and a defender on a breakaway to punch in the lone Blue Flame goal at 34:23.
Stephen Henderson, Hubbard, and Conner Donohue closed out the scoring for Eastside.
Despite weather issues that have hampered practice time, Rodriguez feels the Eagles are on a good track.
“With the limited practices we’ve had – I think we’ve practiced five or six times outside – I think we’re doing a fantastic job,” he said.
Noting that his team played the best team in the region Thursday, Pickens coach Nigel Platt said the Blue Flame “have room for improvement and the understanding of the game.” Pickens fell to 1-1 in the region.