STOVER — The Stover Bulldogs scored three first-half goals Tuesday to beat Smithton 3-1.
“It was nice to get a few early to give yourself a little bit of a cushion,” said Stover assistant coach Jared Bellis. “It was good for us. We’ve struggled offensively lately.”
Stover had been shut out in two straight games.
The Bulldogs were able to control the game from the start with Justin Schroder scoring in the sixth minute.
A corner kick got past header attempts and landed in front of Schroder for the goal.
“I think that’s his first ever goal,” Bellis said. “He works as hard as anybody we’ve got. For him to go out there and be able to do that and have some success is great.”
Smithton was able to hold Stover in check for about 20 minutes, but Landon Thompson broke free in the middle of the field and kicked the ball to the left of the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute.
“We gave him a good through ball and he was able to finish,” Bellis said.
Colton Johannes added Stover’s third goal in the 29th minute when his shot deflected off the goalkeeper and into the net.
In order to attempt a comeback, Smithton moved Mason Elgin to forward to utilize his speed up front.
He was able to made a few runs at the goal, but Stover’s defense was able to stop him from scoring.
In the 66th minute, Wyatt Smith led Elgin on a throw in, but Stover goalkeeper Alex Haag was able to grab the ball.
“We needed opportunities up top and we weren’t getting a whole lot so we needed Mason’s speed to help break through their back line, which I think he did a really good job,” said Smithton coach Sean Hutchinson.
The Tigers made a desperate attempt to score quickly in the final 10 minutes.
Tristan Westermier drilled a shot from the left side into the top right corner of the goal in the 73rd minute to make it 3-1.
“It was a beautiful shot,” Hutchinson said. “We like him taking shots as much as possible and we finally got one in for him.”
Westermier had a shot from the same spot in the 79th minute, but Haag secured it with both arms.
Quentin Riddell had a shot shortly after Westermier’s goal, but it went wide left.
“I think we improved greatly in the second half and did well at possessing, talking and taking multiple shots,” Hutchinson said.
Stover (4-5, 1-1 Kaysinger) will play at Columbia Independent on Thursday.
Smithton hosts Sacred Heart on Thursday.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.