Elvis was definitely in the building.
In the opener of the Wake County Cup, Broughton senior Elvis Wiredu was tuning up the Garner defense on his way to three first-half goals for a 7-1 win Monday night.
The Caps (1-0) built a 5-0 halftime lead over the Trojans (0-1) and never looked back. Broughton, who finished second in the state in 2014, looked like they are ready to make a return trip to the 4A title game, clicking, for the most part, considering it was their first real action of the season.
“It’s always good to win 7-1,” Caps’ senior Bryant O’Neal said. “There’s always room for improvement, but first game of the year, 7-1, it’s a pretty good start. We’re very pleased.”
Wiredu’s first-half hat trick was big, but Broughton also got early goals from Graham Gunter and Abdulle Ibrahim to jump on the Trojans. Sheenaymu Badweh and Lucas Beeson scored for the Caps after intermission. Garner’s lone goal came from Lucas Quiroga at the 30:15 mark of the second half.
Three who mattered
Wiredu, Broughton: Got a hat trick in the first half and spent the second half cheering on his teammates. Wiredu, who left briefly in the first half with cramps, was a blur on the field and made the most of the his opportunities.
“Elvis played well today,” Broughton coach Nick Wheeler said. “He capitalized. He didn’t have too many chances but he scored on them, which is very good to see early on. His effort was very good.”
Clay Oxford, Broughton: The sophomore goalie also sat out the second half, but his work was done early, pitching a first-half shutout.
“He played well,” Wheeler said. “He’s good at communication and a lot of the stuff you need to do before you make a good save.”
Quiroga, Garner: Had the lone goal for the Trojans.
What worked: Broughton’s overall team speed caused all kinds of problems for Garner. It also helped that once they saw one go through the net, it appeared the Caps stepped it up a notch and played faster.
“When we got the ball around we played faster and kept them on their heels and scored more goals,” O’Neal said. “So if we continue to do that we will score more goals throughout the season.”
Out of bounds: The Caps only had one scrimmage last week and lacked bodies at practice because the team was hit by the dentist bug.
“It was weird,” Wheeler said. “We had three kids out with wisdom teeth last week.”
“It really helps to find success when you’re trying to figure it out,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to find out how deep we are, real quick.”
Needs improvement: Garner head coach Ben Bondurant called Wiredu one of the quickest players he has ever seen. At one point the Trojans had three freshmen and two sophomores on the field in the back end trying to contain Wiredu and the rest of the Caps. Bondurant said communication on the field was an issue.
“Matching up with that speed and trying to learn each other,” Bondurant said, “We had a hard time. We’ll go back and work on that some.”
They said it: “I enjoy playing the best of the best,” Bondurant said. “We got Broughton and Cardinal Gibbons, two of the better teams in the state. Love it. We’ll go say our prayers and go over to Cardinal Gibbons on Wednesday.”
Looking ahead: This was game one of three for the Caps this week. Broughton heads to Panther Creek on Wednesday and Holly Springs the following day.
“We’ll find out fitness real quick, then we will see how it goes,” Wheeler said. “It’s going to be a heck of a test getting to our conference. When we get there we will feel like this will prepare us for all those teams we will face (in the Cap-8).”
Wake County Cup standings
Group A: Broughton 1-0, Cardinal Gibbons 0-0, Garner 0-1
Group B: Apex 1-0, Raleigh Charter 0-0, Heritage 0-1