The final numbers didn’t tell the story of how closely his Effingham County Rebels soccer team fought Glynn Academy on Friday night, coach Mike Baczynski said.
The Red Terrors scored three second-half goals to pull away from the Rebels for a 5-1 win, improving to 7-3 on the season and 5-1 in Region 3-AAAA.
“We had our moments,” Baczynski said. “We had a few breakdowns. I felt it was a closer game than the score indicated. We just didn’t have quite enough. It’s always good to play a good team, because we played well tonight.”
The Rebels, who played at Ware County on Thursday night and didn’t get home until the early hours of Friday, were down quickly 2-0 to the Red Terrors. Trey Kaufmann’s header off an Andrew Lee crossing pass deflected in off the bottom of the crossbar one minute into the game.
Barely more than two minutes later, Cameron Bonds drilled a shot from 30 yards out, low and left, past Rebels keeper Caleb Grovenstein.
“Their first touch is fantastic, always,” Baczynski said, lauding the Terrors’ ability to get and maintain possession of the ball. “They can control the ball and control the game.”
Effingham answered seven minutes later, as Jonathan Slater set up Dimitri Hill, who rifled a shot from the left side past Glynn keeper Brett Bearden.
Slater had a potential game-tying shot trickle left of the net after he slipped through two Glynn defenders.
Grovenstein kept the Rebels within a goal late in the half, tipping a Lee header that ticked off the crossbar before the Rebels cleared it out of danger.
There were more big stops from Grovenstein to keep the deficit at a single goal. He denied Bonds from 15 yards out in the final 5 seconds of the half. Grovenstein opened the second half with a stop on Lee inside the box.
After Ben Fendig was fouled inside the box, Bearden was summoned from the net to attempt the ensuing penalty kick. But Grovenstein smothered that shot.
“We just couldn’t capitalize,” Baczynski said of his defense’s effort.
His luck, however, turned sour on Fendig’s move two minutes later. He cut the distance on the speeding Fendig and stopped the initial shot from about 20 yards out. But the ball caromed right back to Fending and off of him, bouncing into the open net.
Kaufmann stretched the lead to 4-1 midway through the half, forcing his way between two Rebels defenders to convert Drew Norvell’s direct kick.
“They’re excellent at making runs off the ball,” Baczynski said. “They are creating things going forward.”
Bonds added the final goal, a low, rolling shot from 25 yards out that caught the left corner of the net with 18:35 remaining.
The Rebels (1-6-1, 1-4 in the region) had one final chance with less than 3 minutes left against the Red Terrors’ reserves. But Ernest Bowers’ shot following Slater’s direct kick wobbled wide left of the net.
Effingham fell 3-1 to Ware, getting called for what Baczynski said was “at least 20” offsides.