Five goals in the first half sent No. 2 Smith-Cotton on its way in a 7-1 win over Warrensburg on Tuesday at Tiger Stadium.
The speed of Smith-Cotton proved too much for Warrensburg. With Carlos Aguirre, Luke Guier and Jordan Lawson up top, S-C was able to generate chances on long balls using those three to make runs into open space.
Lawson scored twice late in the first half off long passes, one from Guier in the 38th minute and one from Aguirre in the 39th to send S-C into halftime up 5-0.
“That is one thing that we’ve had the last couple of years that we haven’t always had is some guys up front that just have tremendous pace,” said S-C coach Ethan Weller. “That’s one of the reasons that we switched to the 4-3-3 system. We had guys that had played a lot of forward and had a lot of pace. Those three guys up front will give just about anybody trouble.”
Smith-Cotton opened the game trying to work the ball up the sideline and feed them into the box with centering passes. Those chances resulted in a 24th minute goal after Eduardo Alonso centered a pass to Kevin Salas. Warrensburg keeper Brady Tiller turned away one shot, but the rebound went back to Salas who knocked it in.
“One of the things we’ve tried to work on the last couple practices is attacking from the weak side,” Weller said. “Our forwards were getting too far in and we weren’t able to attack from the weak side so that’s one thing we kind of focused on. (Tuesday) it kind of worked. They saw some success with it. Most teams are playing a zonal system so they really crowd the ball so the weak side is exactly that, it’s the weak side. We tried to exploit that as much as we could.”
Aguirre got S-C on the board off a rebound in the 14th minute.
Lawson set up Guier to make it 2-0 in the 17th.
In the second half, S-C controlled possession but often could not break down the packed-in Warrensburg backline.
Warrensburg had several chances early in the second half off of turnovers. Roberto Ramirez turned one of them away, another shot moments later went wide and Thomas Todd tackled the ball away from Matthew Heckler after a 56th minute free kick from just outside the penalty area.
Warrensburg did break through in the 78th minute when Mason Janvrin scored after a turnover.
“I think it’s just a lack of focus right now,” Weller said. “We have times when we have mental lapses and we give a ball away and we shouldn’t have to. … When you play somebody like a Hickman or a Rock Bridge, that will cost you. We’ve got to clean that up especially.”
Smith-Cotton pushed the ball up immediately after the kick off and Jonathan Lopez scored just seconds later.
S-C got its sixth goal in the 74th minute from a Jose Talavera pass to Alan Castillo.
S-C will play at Hickman today.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles