Johnny on the spot
CALCUTTA — Johnny Wilson shined at the most important time for Beaver Local this season as it drubbed West Holmes, 7-2, during a Div. II boys soccer sectional match on Monday night.
The Beavers (6-9-1) got four goals from Wilson, two of them came in the final five minutes of the opening half.
“We know he’s fast, but want to use him more than a fast player. We want him to be a great player technically. It’s a technical game,” Beavers coach Joseph Zirillo said. “He’s a freshman and he’s got a bright four years ahead of him.”
Beaver Local also got two goals from Ben Miller. Teammate Kaleb Mays also posted one for the victors.
West Holmes (2-15) struggled to move the ball upfield and couldn’t generate fluid passes consistently, which helped the Beaver’s game plan.
“We’re playing with speed. We’re finally healthy. We have speedy forwards and we capitalized,” Zirillo added. “We tried to close down No. 11 (Sami Latouf) and No. 9 (Noah Tish) as quick as we could.”
The Beavers will advance to the second round where they will face St. Clairsville at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We played them earlier this season. We were down a couple guys and they had their way with us. But, I’m hoping to bring excitement and hopefully suit up for the challenge,” Zirillo said.
The coach added that this is the first time since the first game of the year his club is fully healthy.
Wilson, a freshman, noted it’s important, especially with some time off before the rematch against the Red Devils.
“It means a lot. We were losing a lot of people this season because of injuries,” he said. “Now it feels like a whole new family again. We have to learn that.”
At this time of the year, with so much on the line, it’s vital for Beaver to be on the same page.
“What we really have to focus on is communication. We have to tell when somebody is on or off. Saying when we have time and distributing the play. In this game we were just one sided. We were all on the right side when our outside midfielder is wide open,” Wilson said.
As for West Holmes, Tish and Latouf each scored a goal in the tough road defeat.
The Knights were more competitive early in the contest and drove deep in Beaver territory. But, ultimately the Beavers clamped down on passing lanes left and right to stymie the visitors.
• After four straight losses, Beaver has won two of its last three games.
• St. Clairsville (14-3) has won four straight games, allowing only two goals during that span.
• Caden Stout, Nate Thornberg and Jesse Brannan each have 11 goals or more to lead the Red Devils.
• Beaver lost to St. Clairsville, 4-0, on Sept. 14.
• Beaver hasn’t beat the Red Devils since Aug. 20, 2018, which was by a 1-0 decision.
• With his four goals, Wilson now has 16 goals this season, which leads the Beavers’ roster. Kaleb Mays is second on the team with eight.