Firestone was strutting its stuff on the pitch, and Barberton played the reluctant victim Tuesday.
Controlling the middle of the field and attacking relentlessly, the Falcons rolled to an 8-0 victory in a nonleague soccer match at the Copley Road Soccer Complex.
The experience and talent of Firestone (3-2) proved to be more than a youthful Barberton (3-3) squad could handle.
“My kids work very hard and you can tell,” said Firestone coach Michael Householder. “In practices, day in and day out, and they come to play and they’re prepared to do what they have to do.”
The Falcons led 3-0 at halftime and just missed on some other scoring chances. They continued to pour it on after the break, and the Magics could not convert on a handful of their own opportunities.
Senior Brendan Fuller and juniors Joshua Hendrickson and Bryan Gomez each scored twice as the Falcons had a 16-4 advantage in shots on goal.
“Richard Milford and Brendan Fuller are creating the plays and they’re finishing,” said Householder. “Without them, we would probably have a hard time.”
The two co-captains filled the stat sheet against the Magics. Fuller, who usually plays defense, switched to forward and added an assist along with his two goals. Milford, a senior center midfielder, assisted on three goals and added a late one of his own to complete the scoring.
Fuller punched in a rebound of his own shot past goalkeeper Alex Barbati for the first goal. Junior left midfielder Lucien Milford [brother of Richard] then dribbled half the length of the field and booted one under a diving Barbati for an unassisted goal to make it 2-0.
In a swarm of bodies near the net, Hendrickson knocked in a rebound with a Richard Milford assist for a 3-0 lead.
“Based on our practice [Monday], it showed what we were doing,” said Fuller. “And we kept the ball and just did what we wanted to do. Collectively as a team, I’d say we did the best this game. We played more together.”
Fuller opened the second-half assault, scoring off a Lucien Milford cross. Shortly after, Hendrickson found a wide-open net for his second goal and a 5-0 lead.
Gomez added back-to-back goals as the margin grew to 7-0.
Firestone goalkeeper Moises Villalba made four saves in earning the shutout. He had back-to-back nifty saves on shots by Barberton’s Ron Monroe and Dakotta Schumm in the second half.
“We responded well to an iffy [3-1] loss against Wadsworth on Saturday,” said Richard Milford. “We played good, got it together as a team, honestly. Very happy with the result.”
Barberton graduated 11 seniors, including 10 starters, from last year’s team that finished 14-4 and now has a team dominated by juniors and sophomores. Barberton coach John Sabol faces a rebuilding task against a challenging schedule.
“We’re young and inexperienced but the kids are working hard,” said Sabol. “We’ve gotten better each time we’ve stepped out on the field. Firestone’s got a real nice squad. I knew what would hurt us is their speed and ability to knock it around, and it did.”
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