'Clones 'swamp' Boone

By Allen LaMountain

   For the second time in four days the Elizabethton Cyclones tallied four goals to knock off Daniel Boone -- this time at Brown-Childress Stadium -- in a steady rain that turned an already spotty field into a swamp.
   Senior striker Gavin McKinney scored another hat-trick to bring his season goals scored total to seven as Betsy improved overall to 4-6-1, while dropping the Trailblazers to 1-8. Sophomore Ryan Gough also got into the scoring act, with what may have been the hardest shot of the night.
   "The entire first half we didn't get too many opportunities," said McKinney. "But we turned it on in the second half. The guys all did a great job of lofting the ball over the top for me. (Brad) Borland sent a beautiful ball my way and when I get in that close I go for it."
   A scoreless first half saw EHS put seven shots on Boone keeper Justin Miller, but he was up to the task of turning the Cyclones away on each of them. The wet conditions prevented players on both teams' from getting any real traction or from getting anything on their kicks when the got the chance, so it appeared that this would be a defensive struggle in which one goal would loom large.
   "The first half neither team could do anything much," said Cyclone head coach Bill McClay. "We moved the ball well -- as we have the last few games -- but we weren't finishing. Andy Ross has done a nice job in midfield of getting the ball from side to side and that helps open things up."
   A corner kick by Boone from Phillip Burgess saw Blazer midfielder Doug Owens take aim at the Cyclone net but EHS keeper Charlie Crowe challenged Owens at the point of attack stopping the shot clean, but absorbing contact by Owens in the process. Owens did not deliver a cheap shot, just good hard played soccer, and Crowe being the attacking keeper that he is, understands that contact is inevitable.
   On three of Boone's five shots on goal Crowe came out to challenge and was nearly run over by a Blazer attacker driving to the net.
   'Betsy broke through in the 61st minute as McKinney scored off a nice feed from Robert Cogan in the midfield circle. Cogan received a pass from Ross on the left side, drove 10 yards to midfield and found McKinney isolated on a single Boone defender.
   McKinney drove hard into the Boone goalbox to beat Miller to his left side, staking EHS to a 1-nil advantage.
   "Their guy, number 14 was on me all game, especially in the first half," said McKinney. "But he turned one way and Robert sent the ball on my other side and he was beat."
   McKinney struck again in the 70th minute as Gough lobbed a pass just outside the Blazer goalbox and McKinney out-raced the Boone defenders to the ball and sent a solid blast past Miller for a two-goal Cyclone lead with 10-minutes to play.
   Boone didn't take long to answer as Owens received a long lob pass to just inside the Cyclone box where Crowe was racing to try and cut off the ball, but Owens slid his shot past a sliding Crowe to get Daniel Boone back into the contest at the 76-minute mark.
   The Cyclones answered immediately with McKinney completing his second consecutive hat-trick -- this time with an assist from Brad Borland -- and 'Betsy had seemingly salted this win away.
   In the final minute of play Gough and McKinney turned in a stunning play that Gough finished for his first goal of the season. Gough received a pass from Kyle Germaine on the backline and had open real estate in front of him with McKinney charging toward the Blazer goal taking two defenders with him.
   Gough then attempted to lob a pass to McKinney who had to turn back for the ball, and instead of trying to corral the pass and then turn back toward the Blazer net he headed the ball back to Gough.
   Gough then loaded up his right leg and sent a rocket from 25-yards out into the Blazer goal to complete another solid offensive showing by the Cyclones.
   "I would never have been able to turn back around on that play," admitted McKinney. "So I headed it back to Ryan and he hit it well. To me it doesn't matter who scores the goals, as long as we keep scoring."
   McClay was pleased with seeing his young team begin to show an attacking mentality on offense as well saying, "I think it's good for the team that everyone gets involved with scoring goals. I'm glad that Gavin is scoring, but other guys are getting good shots and not passing them up."