University School of Jackson soccer player Jack Edwards scored all three goals in the Bruins’ 3-2 come-from-behind victory over rival Jackson Christian on Saturday night before a large and enthusiastic crowd at Ronnie Fowler Field.
“Jack has got a lot of passion for the game, and he has become a player that always wants the ball at his feet,” said USJ coach Paul Conway “He deserved to have a good match tonight.”
With USJ down 2-0, Edwards collected a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box and beat an Eagle defender as he moved to his left. Then as he reached the top of the box, he released a left-footed blast into the back of the net with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
“Scoring before halftime was a great momentum changer for us, especially being down 2-0,” Edwards said. “It really helped us get our confidence back for the second half.”
The USJ goal was preceded minutes earlier by a 24-yard shot by JC’s Christian Williams that hit the corner of the goal and bounced to the ground just outside the goal line. If that ball had gone into the goal, Jackson Christian would have been up 3-0 just before half and momentum may have never changed to the Bruins’ favor.
In the second half Bruin coach Conway moved Edwards up front alongside longtime teammate Charles Campbell, and the two produced two more goals to help USJ (5-5-1) come away with the win.
In the 59th minute, Campbell hit a cross that deflected off an Eagle defender and landed at the feet of Edwards, who tied the match with his second goal.
A minute-and-a-half later Campbell once again crossed the ball to Edwards who completed his hat trick with another left-footed blast.
“Charles and I have played together for our whole lives, and we have this connection on the field,” Edwards said about their ability to find each other on the field. “We believe in each other.”
In the early going though it looked as if Jackson Christian was going to run away with the match.
Marshall Davis scored the first goal on a penalty kick after an Eagle forward was taken down in the 18-yard box in the sixth minute.
Parker Flinton put Jackson Christian (9-4-1) up 2-0 in the 26th minute when he took a long pass from Davis and beat Bruin keeper Bandon Craig with a perfectly placed 20-yard shot.
“We were disappointed with our first half play,” Conway said. “We made some adjustments at half and played with a better balance of style and substance in the second half.”
The Bruin defense, which gave up two goals and multiple scoring opportunities to the Eagle offense, regrouped in the second half as they allowed one shot on goal after halftime.