Two second-half goals by Briar Jumper senior striker Derek Arias was enough for Somerset to pull out the hard-fought 3-2 win over their cross-town rivals Pulaski County, on Monday at Clara Morrow Field.
After the two local teams swapped goals in the first half, Somerset came out firing in the second half. Five minutes into the second period, Arias made a heads up play and took a deflected ball in the box and turned it into a goal from eight yards out to put the Briar Jumpers up 2-1.
Arias scored again at the 75-minute mark to put the Jumpers up 3-1. Arias scored from 20 yards out off a Coby Wilson assist.
But Pulaski County was not going away, as the Maroons scored inside the 78th minute to pull within a goal. On a corner kick, with 1:30 left in the match, sophomore Henry Gilliam got the ball into sophomore Isaac Smith for the score. Smith's goal pulled the Maroons within a goal at 3-2, which sparked a flurry of action in the last 90 seconds of the contest.
"Pulaski is a pretty good team, and we knew they were going to bring it at some point, especially if it is contested," Somerset High School boys soccer coach Brian Blankenship said. "It was definitely got contested towards the end."
"It was a physical game and we knew going into this game it would be, and we will take a win like this any day," Blankenship stated. "This was the seed district game, we lost to Pulaski County here last year, and we could let that happen again."
Pulaski County took the early lead, at the 27-minute mark, when senior forward Jaxon Gambill scored on a penalty kick.
Three minutes later, Somerset tied the score at 1-1 when Jared Bastin rolled the ball in the left corner of the net on a 18-yard free kick.
"After Jared Bastin hit that free kick, our intensity went up like it should have been the whole game," Blankenship stated.
"Pulaski plays a good brand of soccer and we play a good brand of soccer, and I knew this was going to be an exciting game," Blankenship said. "All the fans turned out, it was Senior Night for us, and it was a good victory."
Somerset (3-0) will host Mercer County on Tuesday, Sept. 15, while Pulaski County (2-1) will travel to Corbin on Tuesday.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.