BELPRE -For three minutes, the Belpre Golden Eagles had everything they wanted and then some from the visiting Morgan Raiders on the soccer pitch.
Admittedly, there were 12 of them instead of 11, but for those brief moments at the start of the game the Golden Eagles found themselves on their heels as Morgan pressured the net.
Falling behind 1-0, the Golden Eagles didn't need long to find their groove, however.
Photo by Kevin Pierson
Belpre senior Trent Stanley, left, uses his head to pass to a teammate over the defense of Morgan's Garrett Morrow Saturday. The Golden Eagles won, 8-2.
Belpre ran off eight straight goals to come back from an early 1-0 hole to claim an 8-2 win at Ralph Holder Stadium Saturday behind a balanced offensive attack that had four different players score.
"We worked the ball around. When we work the ball, we can score," said Belpre senior Trent Stanley, who recorded two goals and a trio of assists in the contest.
The Golden Eagles fell behind 1-0 when Morgan junior Joe Ramirez tapped in a loose ball in the box, just a few seconds after the referees halted play when they discovered that the Raiders had started the game with 12 players on the field.
It didn't take long for Belpre to even the contest, however.
Seven minutes after the Morgan goal, Stanley connected with fellow senior Dakota Hoffman, and the Belpre standout fired a rocket shot into the corner of the net that actually went through the twine.
Less than a minute later, Hoffman struck again when he took a header-pass from Jayson Booth and tapped it into the net for a 2-1 lead in the 12th minute of play. From there, Belpre never looked back.
"We started off slow. That's normal for us," said Belpre soccer coach Jeff Stanley.
Belpre's third goal proved to be a costly one for the Golden Eagles, as Hoffman was taken down in the box. The foul earned a penalty kick for Belpre, but also ended Hoffman's day as he left the game with an arm injury and didn't return.
With the player who could be Belpre's all-time leading goal scorer on the sidelines, the Golden Eagles still found offense, which pleased their coach.
"Our goal scorer went down, got hurt, and we still scored six other goals," coach Stanley praised.
The first of those six goals came on the PK earned by Hoffman's efforts at the net, with Trent Stanley launching a hard shot that ricocheted off Morgan goalkeeper Adam Reed and into the net.
Belpre would add a fourth goal before the half in the 34th minute when Trent Stanley took a direct kick and fired it into the upper 90 for a 4-1 advantage.
"They put three in the goal that came from penalties," lamented Morgan boys' soccer coach Bob Itnyre.
Following the sluggish start to the game, Belpre tallied scores on its first three shots on goal, and never looked back.
"We feed off our goals," Trent said.
The feeding frenzy for the Eagles continued into the second half, with another direct kick resulting in the fifth Belpre goal. Trent Stanley's pass off the direct kick found Ryan Epperly, who started the game in goal for Belpre.
Epperly headed Stanley's pass just inside the far post for a 5-1 advantage in the 46th minute. The goal marked the first in the varsity career of Epperly, who traditionally plays goalkeeper.
After watching his teammates dominate the scoring column, Belpre junior Devin Daniell got in the action by tallying the final three goals for the Eagles.
Daniell's first goal came in the 59th minute when he broke through a pair of Raider defenders after taking a long pass from the midfield, as Belpre capitalized on a hole in the Morgan defense in the second half.
The strategy paid dividends, as Daniell tallied his second goal in the 67th minute when he took a through-ball from Trent Stanley and put it in the net with one touch of his foot.
Three minutes later Daniell completed the hat trick when he stole the ball from a Morgan defender following a throw-in and pushed it into the far corner.