West Wilkes handed Ashe County its first loss of the season on Feb. 10. The Blackhawks prevailed in Millers Creek, 2-0.
Sophomore defensive midfielder Omar Limon and freshman forward Kevin Gonzalez scored goals for West. Limon’s came on a free kick while Gonzalez gathered a rebound off a save and booted it past Ashe’s keeper.
The Blackhawks evened their MVAC record at 2-2 while the Huskies dropped to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in league matchups.
North rips Alleghany
North Wilkes blasted Alleghany, 10-2, in Sparta on Feb. 10 for its first win of the season.
Sophomore Samuel Panneton and freshman Matthew Pardo each had hat tricks for the Vikings, who improved to 1-3. Each also had an assist, giving them seven points apiece.
North’s Solomon Panneton notched a pair of goals, with teammates Gracen Cline and Ivan Duran adding single goals. Duran, Cooper Ellis and Nolan Stanley had assists for the Vikings.
“The game started out slow,” noted James Cline, the Viking coach. “Alleghany showed a lot of poise and strength in their defense early in the first half of the game.”
Alleghany scored first but North answered with four first-half goals. “I believe the lack of depth was the ultimate demise of their game plan,” said Cline. “Alleghany had one substitute the entire game. They also had to fight off some minor injuries along with the fatigue that set in after the first 20 minutes.”
Cline continued, “When we pass efficiently on the offensive side of the ball, we can be a very dangerous team. We had a lot of great play out of the team once we settled down and went to work.”
The Vikings implemented a 3-2-3-2 defense for the first time against the Trojans. “Once the kids noticed that the midfielders were the first line of our defense it gave my forwards a better opportunity to get back on defense. Some of top defensive play came from Melvin Martinez, Braeden Foster, Trent Dillard, Gracen Cline, Brendon Davis and goalie Brayden McGlamery,” who had three saves.
Cline felt the win was a total team effort. “Our kids have battled with some injuries and have had to fight through the discomfort. It is nice to see players like Yefferson Bonilla, Dillard and Davis step us when they are aching. All three are seniors who want to finish their soccer career having fun and giving it their all for their school and their team.”
Alleghany is 0-3 in MVAC play.
Elkin shuts out East
Elkin blanked East Wilkes in Ronda on Feb. 10, 4-0.
The Buckin’ Elks moved up to 3-1 while the Cardinals dipped to 1-4.
East Coach Avery Wallis has six seniors on his roster: Dylan Ward, Adalian Ventura-Trinidad, Jorge Lopez, Dylan Black, Tristan Talley and Camron Summers.
Ward is a starter on the Cardinal basketball team and is a “great kid and four-year player for us. His athletic capabilities are some of the best around so he gives us great opportunities and plays offensively and defensively out of the midfield. He brings us solidity and stability.”
Ventura-Trinidad is “our best striker this year and a senior with experience for us. He knows the game and is very skilled offensively which will be huge for us up front.”
Lopez has “a lot of experience in goal and is versatile enough to play all over the field as well. He is a natural leader and a good athlete. He’s a strong and tough kid that will play a key role for us on and off the field.”
Black “brings us experience and defensive toughness on our back line.”
Talley is a “smart and experienced player that brings hustle every play. He is versatile and will play multiple positions for us this year. A great kid on and off the field.”
Somers is currently injured but, when he returns, “offers us another option in goal and is an athletic kid that can play multiple positions.”
Junior members of the team are Jesus Juarez, Grady Holleman and Eddie Garcia.
Juarez is “another versatile kid that can play anywhere on the field from back line to forward. He brings knowledge of the game and a competitor’s mindset every day.”
Holleman is “extremely smart on and off the field. He will give us valuable minutes in the midfield and has a knack for passing and finding his open teammates.”
Garcia brings “positive energy to the team every day and is a kid that plays in multiple positions off the bench. He has some striking capabilities (a strong left in particular) and also is versatile enough to play goalie some for us.”
Among the 10 underclassmen, Wallis said freshman starter Jose Ventura-Trinidad is “very skilled and quick. He has an extremely high ceiling and will offer us versatility on the field and help create scoring opportunities, as he is a great playmaker.”
Wallis said freshman Ty Ferguson and sophomore Francisco Lopez “bring great ball handling and playmaking abilities to the table. They are great, coachable kids that will help us out tremendously offensively, and that have a lot of potential to do well this year and in years to come.”
Sophomore James Cook is “always one of the smartest kids on the field and knows how to position himself which allows him to make great defensive plays. He will be a leader on our back line this year and in years to come due to his awareness and IQ.”
Chase Huffman, a sophomore, “brings us a spark on the field. He never runs out of energy and brings hustle every play. It doesn’t matter who is put in front of him, Chase is going to compete and make it tough. He will be huge defensively for us.”
Freshman Owen Combs is a “great athlete already as a freshman. He gives us speed and strength in the back line and in the midfield. Owen’s a hard worker that makes us a lot better when on the field.”
Wallis said sophomore Nathaniel Burchette “brings us IQ and defensive capabilities off the bench. He will play a big role for us as a key substitution in the back line and midfield.”
Sophomore Hunter Caudill and freshman Morgan Holbrook are “great teammates that are coachable and helpful on and off the field. They will give us minutes defensively and always play hard.”
Wallis said freshman Cory Phillips is “another athletic young player with a lot of potential. He will be a key sub for us defensively that hustles and makes plays on the defensive end of the field.”