11/04/04 — North Johnston opens tournament play with pasting of Northside

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North Johnston opens tournament play with pasting of Northside

By David Williams
Published in Sports on November 4, 2004 1:56 PM

KENLY -- North Johnston's soccer team will have to practice the water-cooler play a little more before they take another step in the Class 1-A N.C. High School Athletic Association soccer playoffs.

The water-cooler play?

That's the one where happy players grab the cooler off the bench and dump it on the coach.

When North Johnston tried it after beating Northside 12-0 at Ben E. Strifert Stadium Wednesday night, they not only soaked coach Brent Walston, but also hit him with the cooler, knocking him to the ground.

Walston was a good sport about it. After all, this was the first time in school history that North Johnston had won a post-season game, and they had won it in dominating fashion.

"I lost my breath there for a minute, but it's nice," said Walston. "It's great for the boys, great for the school."

And a lot of work for Northside. The first-year Panthers, a co-ed team that was 0-8 coming into the playoffs from the Four Rivers Conference, were clearly outmanned from the opening minute -- and it only took half of that opening minute for North Johnston to get the opening goal.

Nelson Reyes brought the ball upfield, pulled it out to the right and then crossed it back to Raul Farfan, who took a shot that was blocked down. The carom went to Ashley Moore, who struck it soundly past the keeper for the 1-0 lead.

Ninety seconds later, Jake Lomanaco ran onto a perfectly placed chip over the defense and bumped a shot past the keeper for a 2-0 lead.

Northside's best chance at a goal came early, when Luis Gomez broke away from the defense and challenged keeper Josh Cooper to the near side of the box. Cooper was on top of the shot, denying Gomez straight on.

Northside had just three more chances, with backup goalkeeper Jay Pittman saving another shot in the second half.

"It was obvious that we don't have the talent that they do," said Northside coach Billy Bunn. "We don't quit. I have two seniors, so we're still young. It's just tough for a first-year program to come to a school that has had a program for several years, one that's ranked seventh in the state, and play to their standards."

North Johnston scored four more goals in the first half, but slowed down after Walston directed his team to take the ball wide and only shoot goals off headers inside the box.

"We knew we capable of putting the ball in the net," he said. " I'm glad we got the shutout. Northside's got a couple, three pretty good players. We knew defensively we had a game plan that we have played all season. I'm glad we got a lot of different guys in the scoring column."

The second half saw some early highlights from Lomanaco, who tallied two more goals to finish with four and push his school-record goals total to 50. After clanging a shot off the near post a minute earlier, Lomanaco set up another shot that popped off the post and into the net.

A few minutes later, the Northside keeper came out of the box to smother Lomanaco on a another try, but the defenders did not clear the ball from the goal mouth and Farfan blasted it in before the keeper could get back.

Seven different North Johnston players put the ball in the net. Walston denied further scoring chances to the reserves, which was difficult for the players to take at times.

"Once the score got one-sided we started doing a few things to work on to get better and keep improving," said Walston. " It's tough when guys that have never had easy scoring chances get an opportunity, but I talked to the team about playing with discipline and focus. We're trying to build a program here, and tonight we took a big step.:

North Johnston will take on Lejeune (15-3-1), the Coastal Plains conference champions, on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Jacksonville.

"We know what we have to do," said Walston. "We know Lejeune won their conference, and we are going to play them like we would play any team that finished high in the conference.

"We just have to get ready and play the next round."

2004 N.C. High School

Athletic Association Class 3-A

Boys Soccer Playoffs

(at North Johnston HS)

Northside 0 0 -- 0

North Johnston 6 6 -- 12

First half

NJ --Ashley Moore, assist Raul Farfan 39:20

NJ -- Jake Lomanaco unassisted 38:53

NJ -- Brooks Sullivan, assist Raul Farfan 30:28

NJ -- Raul Farfan, unassisted 24:45

NJ -- Garrett Stancil, unassisted 21:55

NJ -- Jake Lomanaco, assist Tripp Sloan 17:03

Second half

NJ -- Raul Farfan, unassisted 38:38

NJ -- Jake Lomanaco, unassisted 35:15

NJ -- Jake Lomanaco, unassisted 29:59

NJ -- Raul Farfan, unassisted 20:09

NJ -- Cameron Edwards, Will Holloman assist 8:42

NJ -- Will Holloman, unassisted 1:15

NJ NSide

33 Shots on goal 4

5 Corner kicks 0

0 Offsides 0

Saves -- North Johnston -- Cooper 1, Pittman 1. Northside -- Latham 13.