Jackets booters down Demons, 2-0

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By The Staff

The Buford men’s varsity soccer team wrapped up a successful week, taking a 2-0 win over Class AAAA foe Lugoff-Elgin at Jackets Stadium on Friday.

The match marked the final time the teams played in the young season.

The Jackets previously defeated the Demons 5-2 in the Capital City Cup in February, but dropped a 3-1 loss at Lugoff-Elgin in the regular season opener.

Both teams battled evenly in the first half, and the score was 0-0 at halftime. In the second half, Buford came out more settled and with more energy, getting on the board when senior midfielder Bryton Davis dispossessed a L-E player, tapped the ball out to the right, and drilled a hard shot on goal that the goalkeeper got his fingertips on, but the pace of the ball was too great for him to stop, and it blasted into the net for the first tally.

 Lugoff tried to push more players forward, but the Jackets were up to the task of denying any offensive charge they mustered.

In the 65th minute, BHS senior forward Ben Rhoton re-entered the game, and soon after, his fresh legs proved to be too much for the tired L-E defense.

He alertly pounced on a loose ball in front of the goal, and scored the final goal of the night.

Junior keeper Ethan Funderburk got his third “clean sheet” of the week, fourth of the season) on 8 saves, two of which were really big.

“Getting Bryton (last year’s MVP) back was certainly a big lift for us this week,” BHS coach John Bundy said. “The toe injury he suffered in the tournament left a big void for us, and we were glad to see him get his first score of the season, as it was much needed, and helped give us a boost in this match.”

 “Once again, our defense came up big, while being relatively short-handed,” Bundy said. “Sophomore Logan Jaillette, and seniors Zayn Sutton, Will Ingram, and Zach Justice stood strong, and remained poised, to keep them shut out as we kept trying to get the score(s) we needed.

“Senior Jim Small, Davis, and junior Jesse Black played unselfishly, and provided assistance to help them out in back as well. We were so tired and banged up after making it to the semi-finals of the tournament, and basically “limped” into Lugoff last week, and to the Demons credit, they took advantage of our tired legs. It still left a bad taste in our mouths, and our seniors didn’t want to lose to a team we knew we could/should handle, so they responded in the second half to ensure we stayed on track.

“Our family/fan support has been tremendous, and the crowd gave us energy, especially a group of students who have been great to come out and give us a true home field advantage in our first two home matches.”

Buford, 5-3 overall, including tournament games, 3-1 in regular season,  has a big week on deck, traveling to Region IV-AA foe Cheraw on Tuesday night, and former Region and county rival Indian Land coming to Jacket Stadium on Thursday.

Buford defeated Cheraw in the region championship match last season at neutral site, Andrew Jackson, 1-0 to capture the region title. Both nights this week, the JV teams square off at 5:30, and the varsity tilts are scheduled for 7 p.m.