By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
In a wild week of local soccer thus far, Max Elmer and the Glendale Falcons didn’t want to be among the latest upset victims.
“I drove by Catholic (Tuesday) night and saw Monett celebrating (a sectional win) on their field,” Elmer said. “Central beat Carthage (in districts), and we lost to Carthage in the regular season. It was a crazy night.”
Glendale buried West Plains with five second-half goals on its way to a convincing 7-0 win Wednesday night in the Class 3 District 10 tournament title game.
The Falcons took control for good with three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“With weather like this, anything’s possible,” said Falcons coach Jeff Rogers. “When you look at the results that you saw around the state (Tuesday) night, it just tells you who wants to show up and really compete.”
Goals from Ryan Long (48th minute) and Max Elmer (55th and 58th minutes) stretched Glendale’s 2-0 halftime lead up to 5-0.
“I told the boys at halftime, ‘The next goal (is) going to decide the outcome.’ If we let them back in it, it would’ve been more of a dogfight, I think,” Rogers said. “But we were able to keep putting goals in and that was the difference tonight.”
Glendale (18-7 overall) will host Rolla (16-9-1 overall) on Tuesday night in the Class 3 sectional round. It’s the third straight year Glendale and Rolla have met in that round, with the Bulldogs winning in 2016 and the Falcons prevailing last year.
Glendale also beat Rolla 3-2 at home in double-overtime earlier this season.
“It’s always a good game against them,” Elmer said. “We have to find some goals. We’ve struggled with that at times this season. If we find some early goals (against Rolla), it could work out for us.”
Glendale struck fast with goals from Ryan Feeney (3rd minute) and Ryan Long (9th minute). The two have given Glendale an offensive lift with last season’s leading scorer, Mitch Stephens, unavailable due to a season-ending injury.
“We kept moving players around and we just found a niche with the Ryans,” Rogers said. “They’re producing goals for us.”
Since a 2-0 loss to Vianney on Oct. 13, Glendale has won six straight games.
“We’ve kind of gotten over the hump with the kids that are injured and aren’t going to play,” Rogers said. “The boys really had to step up, and that’s what I’m most proud of: We’re playing our best soccer right now.”
Jonathon Dixon (66th minute) and Payton Webb (72nd minute) added Glendale’s final two goals. The Falcons were able to empty their bench on a cold, wet and windy night.
“We actually played Nixa last week in weather like this, so we were used to this,” Elmer said. “We knew the ball was going to play fast on turf, so we looked for some give-and-go’s. Some went through and we put them into the back of the net.”
West Plains finishes with its best overall record (16-9) this decade.