Three difficult games in four days saw the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team walk away with a trio of one goal road victories — defeating Cody 2-1 last Wednesday, Green River 1-0 on Friday …
Three difficult games in four days saw the Powell Panther boys’ soccer team walk away with a trio of one goal road victories — defeating Cody 2-1 last Wednesday, Green River 1-0 on Friday and Lander 4-3 on Saturday.
POWELL 2, CODY 1
A Park County rivalry kicked off the week on Wednesday, after the original contest between the No. 2-ranked Panthers (5-1 overall, 5-0 3A West) and No. 3-ranked Broncs (4-3 overall, 4-2 3A West) was delayed more than a week due to weather conditions.
Cody came out and put pressure on the Panthers from the start, but it was Powell who got the fast start on the scoresheet.
Ten minutes into the game the Panthers got an opening goal from a well worked play between Chance Franks and Morgan Hobbs, with Hobbs slotting the ball under the Bronc goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Powell found its footing in the match and continued to apply pressure, with Franks earning a free kick from 25 yards out at the 17 minute mark.
After a yellow card was shown, Franks fired the ball into the back of the net on the goalkeeper’s side with no Cody wall to challenge and made it 2-0 in favor of Powell.
“It wasn’t necessarily our plan to go up early against Cody, that just happened as we played our game,” coach David Gilliatt said. “We had a specific game plan against them and we executed that perfectly in the first half. Everyone did their job well.”
Powell continued to create opportunities alongside Cody which had its chances, but neither team found the back of the net as the score remained 2-0 heading into the half.
Cody came out firing in the second half, with an early chance going just wide as the pressure began to mount on the Panther defense.
The Broncs continued to attack, and a free kick appeared to squeeze past keeper Holden Cooper and was on its way into the back of the net.
Luckily for Powell, center back Logan Jensen made an acrobatic effort to clear the ball off the goal line and keep the score 2-0 in favor of the Panthers.
Cody again continued to press, but Powell almost found a goal on the counter attack after Franks was fouled just outside the penalty area and the ensuing free kick bounced around the box.
Powell appeared to be safe in a 2-0 victory, but a yellow card for a foul by Colton Brewer gave Cody a free kick with 12 seconds left.
That shot sailed just over the outstretched hand of Cooper and into the back of the net to make the final score 2-1.
“That call in the end that led to the Cody goal was odd to me but you have to plan for those,” Gilliatt said. “I don’t think I could coach anyone to forgo all physical contact to avoid that call and I think it was a really good free kick taken by Cody. We move on and take the win.”
POWELL 1, GREEN RIVER 0
Heading into this season there is a new addition to 3A, after Green River (2-1 overall, 2-1 3A West) shifted down and swapped places with Riverton.
“Green River was the one team we knew very little about as they’ve been 4A up until this year,” Gilliatt said.
Powell applied pressure early and often, using the wind as an advantage early.
A mistake by the Green River keeper bounced to Cameron Carpenter who blasted it into the back of the net seven minutes into the game to give Powell a 1-0 lead.
Powell created more opportunities throughout the half, but was unable to extend the lead the remainder of the half.
Both teams had opportunities to score in the second half, but Powell held off any challenges from the hosts and walked away with a narrow 1-0 victory.
“They ended up having some very quick central midfielders and wings that we really hadn’t scouted at all,” Gilliatt said. “To play someone blind with very little idea on what we were set to face after driving on a bus for five-plus hours, I’m content with winning 1-0.”
POWELL 4, LANDER 3
After the victory Friday the Panthers finished off their road trip in Lander against the No. 4-ranked Tigers (1-3 overall, 1-2 3A West).
Powell got on the board first, when Franks curled in a free kick from just outside the penalty area on the left side — his third free kick of the season to make it 1-0 14 minutes into the game.
“We had to be very strategic in our last away game against Lander,” Gilliatt said. “This was the third away game in four days so our legs were fairly spent.”
Both teams had opportunities to score over the next 20 minutes, but Powell found a way to double its advantage.
A hustle play between Hobbs and Carpenter gave Carpenter an opportunity just outside the 18-yard box, giving Powell the 2-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first half.
A foul in the box by the Panthers gave Lander an opportunity with just over four minutes left, and the Tigers converted the penalty kick to make it 2-1.
That scoreline held going into the halftime break.
Out of the halftime break the Panthers put pressure on the Tiger defense.
Franks finished off a strong solo run up the left wing with a shot across the Lander defense, and gave Powell another two-goal lead up 3-1 just 2:30 into the second half.
Lander again responded at the penalty spot, converting the second penalty of the game to make it 3-2 with 22 minutes left.
“We tried to make the ball do the work in the first half and were able to go up early in the second half,” Gilliatt said. “We’ve got some work to do defensively going into this week but it’s good to identify those things at this point in the season.”
Just three minutes later Powell got a penalty of its own.
Franks stepped up to take it, but it was saved by the Lander goalkeeper.
Fortunately, the ball bounced right back to Franks who finished the rebound to restore the two goal advantage up 4-2.
Lander again got a goal from a set piece, this time scoring a free kick from 25-yards out to cut the lead down to 4-3 for the final seven minutes and put pressure on the Panthers to finish out the game for three points.
Powell was able to see out the contest, and move into a solid position at the top of the 3A West.
“I was impressed with my guys’ will to win all week,” Gilliatt said. “Everyone likes winning by big margins but they count the same as winning by one goal. Grit is a quality I would give this Panther team.”
Powell returns home this week sitting at the top of the 3A West standings with a two game advantage over second place Cody.
The Panthers will have a quick rematch with the Tigers at 5 p.m. on Friday before taking on Pinedale (1-3 overall, 1-3 3A West) for the first time this season at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“Honestly, I haven’t paid attention to records. I appreciate these chances to compete and test our character and will to win but we also go back and study the film to see where we can improve after each game,” Gilliatt said. “Everyone including myself is held accountable for failures and successes but we learn from our mistakes and get better. It’s about peaking at the right time and our goal is to do that at state.”