Games against rivals produce emotions.
“This game against South Jones has always been emotional,” said West Jones boys soccer coach Josh Sullivan. “As a team, we talked about overcoming that emotion and letting it just be the next game. Win or lose; there’s always another game to play.”
For the most part, Sullivan thought his team did well in that regard. West Jones outscored South Jones 3-1 in the second half Friday night en route to a 4-1 victory, following a highly emotional and dramatic girls game that was decided in penalty kicks after two 10-minute overtime periods.
“[I told our guys before the game] to do their job and be great,” said Sullivan. “They did. I’m so proud of our guys and how they played. We’re starting an eighth grader, two ninth graders and two tenth graders on the back line. It’s phenomenal to watch these kids play and knowing where they came from at the beginning of this year.”
Junior Luis Ramirez scored the only first-half goal in the 25th minute to give West Jones an early lead. He added another in the 25th minute of the second half that put West Jones in front, 3-1.
Senior Carlos Aguilar and senior Jacob Fulcher aided with second-half goals too.
“Everyone contributed,” said Sullivan. “We scored four goals from at least three different guys. So everyone contributed, and that’s what it takes. Losing eight guys last year, having a guy out for football until just recently and having a guy out with an injury, that’s a lot we’ve had to build without. That’s why it’s important for everyone to contribute.”
The only South Jones goal came in the 60th minute on a header by Fausto Reyes. Before the goal, West Jones held a two-goal lead (2-0). Sullivan said getting that second goal and first in the second half was big and kept the game in check for West Jones.
“When you play a good team, a two-goal cushion is big,” said Sullivan. “It’s a difference in how relaxed you are, and what you’re able to do defensively or offensively. Having a 2-0 lead makes my job a whole lot easier because I can start resting guys and using fresh legs. When they scored to make it 2-1, we put our guys that we depend on the most and they were up to the task.
“This was probably the best win against South Jones under my tenure. But I know when we go to their place at the end of the regular season, we’ll have to bring it again.”
West Jones improves to 7-6-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-5A. South Jones falls to 4-8, and 1-1 in 5-5A.