FUQUAY-VARINA — When Fuquay-Varina’s boys’ soccer team goes forward in attack, its fans start to inch up to the edge of their seats.
The Bengals, ranked sixth in The News & Observer area rankings, haven’t been shut out this season. In no game did their attack prove more dangerous than Wednesday’s 4-3 victory against the No. 8 Panther Creek Catamounts.
“In every game we’ve given up at least two goals,” Bengals coach Todd Dowler said. “We know from night to night it’s going to be a shootout until we resolve some back line issues.”
Highlight reel: On a night with seven goals, the best one might have been the first one. Panther Creek’s Henry Mollogon stepped up to a 22-yard free kick and bended it in for a goal in the second minute.
Mollogon later scored on a penalty in the 66th minute.
Putting up numbers: The Bengals’ Johnny Stehlik scored in the fifth minute on a header after a long free kick from Andrew Lawrence, then scored again in the 53rd after settling a cross from Dean Rutherford. Stehlik has a team-high eight goals this year.
Keith Gorman scored in the 51st minute.
Holden Bryant had his first goal in the year on the 25th minute on a penalty.
Panther Creek’s Matthew Thomas scored in the 69th minute, netting the final goal of the game.
What worked: Fuquay-Varina (4-3-2, 2-2) wingers and forwards Bryant, Stehlik and Rutherford kept making well-timed runs, and Lawrence kept feeding them.
“He’s the glue that holds it all together. He’s a remarkable player. He’s our orchestrator in the midfield,” Dowler said of Lawrence.
Panther Creek (3-4-2, 1-3) began to exploit some things late in the match and had a free kick with a little more than 10 seconds left in the game that could have forced overtime.
“Any other team would’ve folded. 4-1? Forget it,” Panther Creek coach David Grant said. “But we came back and gave ourselves an opportunity to win it.”
Needs improvement: Both teams are still searching for poise in the back lines, where each team has two seniors and the rest are underclassmen. Both teams gave each other a penalty – one on a handball by Panther Creek and the other on a takedown by Fuquay-Varina.
Missed clears and playing too high of a line led to some of the other goals.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps