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Red Rams rally to down Demons

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FRANKLINTON — Franklinton’s boys soccer team scored two unanswered goals in the final 12 minutes of the match to beat Fike 3-2 for the second time this season at home Monday. The Red Rams took a 1-0 lead at halftime after a goal from Josiah Caronna off a throw-in from Lucas Martinez. Then five minutes into the second half, Fike scored a goal to tie the match. Then six minutes later, the Demons struck again with another goal to take a 2-1 lead. With 12 minutes left in the match, Caronna passed the ball to Martinez, who took a long shot on goal. The ball bounced off Fike’s goalkeeper’s hands and into the net to tie the game at 2-2. Then with seven minutes left in the match, Martinez took another throw-in on Fike’s side of the field. Franklinton striker Aryan Ahmadi took a shot on goal, but a Fike defender was there to block it. He tried to clear the ball, but the ball bounced off the right shin of Franklinton’s Tyler May and it went into the back of the net for the bizarre game-winning goal. “My teammate Aryan kicked the ball and it bounced off a Fike defender,” May said. “He tried to clear the ball and it hit my right shin. Somehow it went in. I didn’t even know I scored.” Franklinton held off Fike from that point on to win the crucial 3A Big East conference match 3-2. Head coach Bert Woodburn of the Red Rams said his team did a great job of staying aggressive on offense and it finally paid off in the end. “We talked about taking shots tonight,” Woodburn said. “We wanted to play our game and play wide. Lucas took a nice long shot, which is what we want him to do. Tyler is a freshman who puts in a lot of effort. He just charged toward the ball and that’s what we put him in for.” Caronna and Martinez fed the ball to each other throughout the match and all over the field. Their chemistry allowed them to be a part of all three goals in the win. “We knew that Fike started to make mistakes after they scored their second goal,” Caronna said. “We were getting every 50-50 ball. We put the pressure on Fike. We kept our composure.”

“We had great passes and touches from everyone,” Martinez said. “We had great possession and got open goals.” Defensively, Franklinton was a force to be reckoned with in the first half. Woodburn said the players eased off after halftime and that’s how Fike was able to score twice on them. “We had a system for our defense in the first half and we got away from it in the second half,” Woodburn said. “We readjusted ourselves and got back into the system again. We made Fike play wide and earn everything they get. We got too overconfident and Fike broke through the middle. We fixed that and Fike didn’t go through the middle anymore after that.” With the win, Franklinton improved to 16-3-1 overall and tied for first in the Big East conference with Southern Nash at 5-2. The season sweep over the Demons gave the Red Rams their first two wins over Fike in school history. The month of October has been an up-and-down season for the Red Rams. They lost the first two matches of the month by one goal and then won their past two by one goal. “In the last month, all of our games have been decided by one goal,” Woodburn said. “We have a defense that can hold everyone to one, maybe two goals. For our offense, it’s a matter of finishing. As we go along, we’re getting more and more confident in these tight games.” If both Franklinton and Southern Nash win out from now on, the Big East conference will be decided in a showdown at Southern Nash Oct. 23. The winner of that critical match will be crowned conference champs. “It’s one game at a time with us,” Woodburn said. “We have to finish how we finished tonight. If we do that, our next game shouldn’t be an issue. It’s exciting and fun to coach these kind of games.” “We have to focus more,” Caronna said. “There’s no more messing around. We know how important this game against Fike was. We have to keep the same mentality in every other game.” Franklinton will play at Hunt Monday Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Their final game of the regular season will be Wednesday Oct. 23 at Southern Nash at 4:30 p.m.