Somerset runs past Pulaski in district finals

CALEB LOWNDES I CJ

Somerset High School junior Derek Arias (left) celebrated after scoring one of his two goals in the Briar Jumpers' 6-1 win over Pulaski County High School in the boys soccer 47th District Tournament championship game on Sunday.

In a heavy rain downpour in the boys soccer 47th District Tournament championship game, the Somerset High School boys soccer team left no doubt in a convincing 6-1 win on Sunday.

Somerset had fallen to Pulaski County 2-1 at Clara Morrow earlier in the season, but in the cross-two rivals' last two match-ups at Maroons' Soccer Field, Somerset outscored the Maroons by a combined score of 12-1.

In the district finals on Sunday, Somerset got on the board in the first three minutes of the match when junior Derek Arias scored off a throw-in play. Tommy Wombles threw the ball into Matt Coffey, who crossed to Chanler Edwards, who flicked the ball to Arias.

In the 10th minute, junior Matt Coffey scored inside the box off a pass from Edwards. Six minutes later, Coffey scored again in the box off a pass from KJ Shand to put the Briar Jumpers up 3-0.

"Matt Coffey has played great in the last two games, and he is a very versatile player that can play anywhere," Somerset boys soccer coach Brian Blankenship stated. "He got to the point where he was happy playing outside back. But after he scored that hat trick in the Glasgow game, I decided to let him run up top because he really got his 'mojo' back. He made me look smart (as a coach) today, but it was his great play that was the smart aspect."

Four minutes left in the opening half, Pulaski County got on the scoreboard when junior Chris Dalton scored after rebounding a Nick Boyd shot attempt.

The Maroons' late first-half goal got them back into the game, but that quickly faded away as the Briar Jumpers scored three unanswered goals in the second half to capture their fifth straight district crown.

"We knew if Pulaski came out in the second half and scored another goal- it would be 3-2 - it is going to be crazy in this rain and things are going to be unpredictable," Blankenship said. "My players have been playing really well and they bought into what we are trying to do. We wanted to score another goal in the second half because we didn't want to change our formation or back down."

"We had been pressing the whole game and we wanted to continue to apply the pressure," Blankenship explained. "We didn't want to sit back and see what happened. If you play not to lose, the odds are you are going to lose. I told our team if you want this victory, you are going to have to take it. They went out there and played with passion and for one another."

In the 50th minute, Arias passed off to Somerset freshman Chanler Edwards, who penetrated enough to pull out Pulaski County junior keeper Riley Howell. Edwards scored from close range.

In the 53rd minute, Somerset's Jared Bastin passed off to Arias, who scored off a crossing shot in the box to put Somerset up 5-1.

Finally in the 69th minute, Somerset's Brian Hines passed to senior Junaid Ahmed, who scored from mid-range.

Somerset (10-8-2) and Pulaski County (6-9-1) will both advance to the 12th Region Tournament, that will be played at Southwestern High School next week.

Local players named to the 47th District All-Season Team were Pulaski County's Riley Howell, Braxton Hewitt, and Jaxon Gambill; and Somerset's Derek Arias. Tommy Wombles, Jared Bastin, and Josh Tucker.

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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