RALEIGH Broughton continued its playoff dominance over Cap Eight Conference foes with a 4-0 victory in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys soccer playoffs on Saturday.
Junior forward Elvis Wiredu paced the Caps offense with two goals, both of which came in the second half. Saturday was Wiredu’s first game since October 13, in which he suffered a concussion.
“He is a big deal,” Caps coach Nick Wheeler said of Wiredu. “He is working his way back in. When he’s healthy he is pretty good.”
The Caps took some time to settle down, scoring three of their four goals in the second half.
“We started off weak,” senior right back Jack Krueger said of the Caps slow start. “They took it to us for the first twenty minutes. Then as the game progressed we slowly got our footing under us. Then after we stopped some of their first attacks and turned the game’s momentum, we kind of dominated them in the second half.”
“A lot of our seniors had their back against the wall,” Wheeler said. “They were like, ‘We are not done yet.’ They came out attacking instead of just sitting back. I think they finally found their groove.”
Despite the strong wind and rain, the Caps managed to keep their season-long offensive pace, tallying nine goals in the past two games.
“This was actually much nicer than our last (game). The rain wasn’t as bad,” Wheeler said. “The other thing was that we were against the wind to start. Their goalie was punting the ball twenty yards past the middle of the field. It was almost a break away (every time). We kind of came in the second half and said that can’t happen. So we kind of dropped (our defense) back quick and push forward as fast as possible. It was a little bit of an adjustment.”
Senior forward Brandon Gettinger and junior midfielder Ike Drooz added the remaining goals for the Caps.
The loss marks the end of an up-and-down season for Heritage (13-8-2), but Huskies coach Scott Sloan is excited for the future.
“The one thing that we do at Heritage that I think that we do very well is that we trust our younger players. If you would look at our varsity roster we have freshmen, sophomores, and juniors sprinkled throughout. We made a decision four or five years ago that we are going to let the youth really lead the way and really provide that enthusiasm,” Sloan said.
“They really do a great job of that. So yes, while we are losing a good group of seniors, we are going to keep plugging along. We’ve got younger guys that are ready to step up and take their space. So we are going to be competitive.”
Broughton (17-1-2), who beat Enloe in the first round, will now face either No. 11 seed Apex or No. 6 New Bern Wednesday. Apex travels to New Bern on Monday.