Boys soccer: Indians finally topple Astoria
Scappoose snaps an 11-match winless streak against the Fishermen behind a brace from senior Devin Timmons
It's often said that 'close' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, certainly not soccer, and so it's no surprise that Scappoose boys coach Scott Stanton wasn't satisfied with the number of times his side had come 'close' to beating perennial Cowapa League power Astoria in his two years as head man.
We've kinda come close every year, Stanton said. Then, it doesn't really go in our favor.
Now, that monkey is off the Indians' back and firmly on the ground after a sound 4-2 victory over Astoria, the first win for Scappoose over the Fishermen since Sept. 26, 2008 when this year's seniors were in sixth grade. It's been a long road for Stanton, who watched his team step off the bus before their first match against Astoria having already given up. The team had been outscored 34-4 through their first seven matches, including back-to-back 11-nil loses to Molalla and OES. The game against Astoria was far less dominant, but still resulted in a 3-2 loss.
From that point on, Stanton has worked to retool the psyche of his team. It was part of the pregame speech with the intent of breaking down the fear factor that precedes Astoria into their matches.
Teams fear them. They know they can win, other teams know they're going to lose, so that's sort of the big thing we were working on this year, Stanton said.
The fear began to crumble in the early moments of the match. Fighting through the driving rain, sophomore midfielder Ty Cooper fed the ball through the senior forward Devin Timmons. And Timmons, as he is wont to do, took a touch in traffic and fired the ball low into the back of the net before Astoria keeper Morgan Fruitt left his feet.
There it was, a 1-0 lead on the Cowapa league's version of Golath in the 14th minute. The Indians held against a furious attack from Astoria, withstanding a corner and a free kick just outside the box in short order as the final seconds of the first half ticked away.
A minute into the second half, Astoria got what they needed: a lightning strike to knot the game at one and start things over again on the scoreboard. For Scappoose, it might have been easy to recall the unsettling 4-3 loss to OES just a few days prior in which the Indians had given up a 3-1 lead in the final 20 minutes. Or, the game last season where Scappoose held a 2-0 lead on Astoria at the break, only to see it quickly slide into a 4-2 loss.
These Indians, however, have a little extra resiliency. 20 minutes in to the final frame, Scappoose jumped on a chance to counterattack after Astoria misplayed a corner kick. The ball was fed up the right sideline to Timmons, who looked forward and had freshman defenseman Gustavo Velazquez to his right, and Fruitt advancing off his line directly in front of the ball. Velazquez moved to push Timmons on to his left foot, something the Indians had been secretly hoping for.
The joke all week is that he only used his right foot in his game against OES, said Stanton, who spotted Astoria head coach Bill Patterson scouting the OES match. Timmons being one of the main goalscorers for Scappoose, Patterson keyed on the pseudo-lack of a left foot.
We were having a riot when he would get the ball up in around here at the top of the 18, and you could hear 'force him on his left, force him on his left,' Stanton said. We're like, 'yeah, force him on his left. Go ahead.'
Timmons baited Fruitt, waiting until the keeper had nearly reached the edge of the 18-yard box before cutting back across the face of the goal and sending an easy score skipping across the grass to put Scappoose on top 2-1 with his left foot.
Three minutes later, the Fishermen got another chance. Isaac Hamm parried a cross inside the Indian penalty box, and the resulting ball fell directly into the hands of a Scappoose defender. Astoria scored the resulting penalty kick to level the match once again, but in the 67th minute, the Indians got their game winner.
Pushing from just outside the 18-yard box, Kevin Bachman touched forward to senior Asa Flanagan. Unlike the previous few attempts, which had been saved, skied over the bar or been blocked, this one was home with ease. The goal from Mason Waddington in the 76th minute served as extra insurance and a final nail in the coffin for Astoria, who saw their 11-game unbeaten run against Scappoose end with a bang.
And how does it feel for Stanton, who had gone 0-4 in the last two years?
Good. Really good, actually, said Stanton, who had sat down that morning and taken a second look at the goals the team had decided upon before the season began.
Their team goal had to do with beating Astoria, he said. It's a fun one. They wanted it.
Now, the focus shifts to the rest of the league before the Indians travel to face Astoria on Oct. 14. Tillamook stands in the way as another, more minor monkey, but Scappoose has their sights set on claiming the league title and writing themselves into the record books. Much of the journey lies on the shoulders of senior goalkeeper Isaac Hamm, who saved the Indian lead late in the first half with an impressive dive to his right, and swallowed nearly every attempt the rest of the way.
He's phenomenal, Stanton said. His big goal this year was to get Cowapa keeper of the year. He was all-league last year, but not keeper of the year, so that was the big thing. I've been working with him on a few things over the summer, and obviously now, of securing the ball rather than just pushing it off to the side or tipping it over for corner kicks. Getting hands to it, and keeping it, rather than spilling it.
Stanton went on to make the clear statement that he believes Hamm to be the best keeper in the league, adding to his trust in a back line he thinks is among the best in the state.
Looking back at the teams before the match began, it's easy to see a shift in the balance of power. Even the driving rain couldn't hide the tears on the faces of the defeated Fishermen, and petty showers couldn't dampen the Indians' spirits after accomplishing a goal some of the seniors had envisioned since before Stanton arrived.
We don't fear anybody, said Stanton. We respect them. We respect that they've won the league as many times as they have, but we don't fear them.
Scappoose 4, Astoria 2
ASTO 0 2 2
SCAP 1 3 4
Goals: D. Timmons (T. Cooper) 14', D. Timmons (K. Bachman) 60', A. Flannagan (K. Bachman) 67', M. Waddington (C. Willard) 76'JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT