by Calli Newberry
The Spartans fast-paced offense spread wide as they successfully attacked the Bronco nets on Monday, Sept. 13, at North Branch High School. They ran away with an 8-0 victory that puts them 11-2-0 overall, and 5-0 in the BWAC. The Broncos now stand 5-5-0 overall (2-2 BWAC).
“It’s like a rollercoaster. They’ve been up and down, but today they realized they can actually move the ball a lot more fluently than before,” head coach Luis Hernandez said. “They realize that now so now I expect them to do that every game. They’re really committed and really passionate about the game so they can do it. They’ve just got to put their minds to it.”
Senior forward Josh Hayes got things started for Imlay City at about 14 minutes into the first half. He shot through a pack of defenders with an assist by junior forward Giovani Torres to put his team ahead, 1-0.
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Keeping the ball on their side of the field for most of the half, the Spartans went on to score two more goals, one when junior defender midfielder Luis Barragan headed the ball off an assist by fellow junior defender midfielder Ediwn Gallindo, and another by sophomore forward Dilan Garcia, assisted by senior forward Jorge Barragan.
With great control of the game, Imlay City was able to often reset and spread out for better scoring opportunities, which the team capitalized on, especially in the second half.
“We don’t try to force it. They try to bring the ball back and try to reorganize to the way we normally try to play,” Hernandez said. “We move the ball around and find that gap, that opportunity, that will actually punch through that last line of defenders. And that’s the whole purpose of playing the ball back and finding that path.”
Junior midfielder Jose Salcedo started the second half off with a quick goal, with an assist by Torres. A few minutes later, the Spartans stole the ball back, worked it quickly down field, and Barragan nailed a beautiful kick between a pack of Broncos to Hayes who then scored to put their team up, 5-0, with 34 minutes to go.
“That’s what it should look like, that one pass, that one path, once you find that, you can send the ball through and make that run,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to look the way it’s supposed to, a really nice breakaway.”
Torres then scored a pair of goals, assisted by Salcedo and senior midfielder Alan Olmedo. To finish the game with 19 minutes left, junior defender Christopher Nava scored the eighth and final goal, with the help of junior defender Edson Zepeda.
Leading the Spartan offense, Torres finished with two goals and two assists. Hayes also chipped in as he totaled two goals.
This newfound intensity and style of offense for the Spartans will prove effective if they continue their momentum. As the league leaders, they’ll look to continue this streak, especially in their game against Richmond later this month.
“They’re doing great, now they’ve just got to keep their minds in it,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to be a really good game. We have a history, it’ll be fun.”
But before that, Imlay City has several more games to play, including a home matchup with Croswell-Lexington (4-4-2, 3-3 BWAC), on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 4:30 p.m.