The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets boys soccer team, ranked No. 5 in the state, had no trouble knocking off its rivals the Nation Ford Falcons 6-0 Friday night.
Nation Ford has struggled to recapture the magic they had a year ago which saw them advance to the Upper State championship, having won just four games this season.
Fort Mill senior forward Austin Cassidy led the Jackets with a hat trick, netting his 30th of the season during the contest.
The Yellow Jackets have scored 10 goals in their past two games, while shutting out their opponents.
“The past two games we have played really well,” said Fort Mill head coach Lloyd Chalker. “The (Cage) tournament really helped us. The boys believe in the way we are playing now.”
Fort Mill won the ball early in the first half, gaining possession and trying to control the tempo.
That offense finally broke through as Cassidy scored for the Jackets making it 1-0 Fort Mill about six minutes into play.
Nation Ford had an opportunity about 12 minutes into the half to score, but Fort Mill crowded the box defensively and derailed the Falcons’ attack.
After Fort Mill’s opening score, neither team seem to gain an advantage of the other as they seemed to alternate possessions without one team gaining control.
Fort Mill had another close shot on goal about the 22-minute mark as senior Mason Strohl struck the ball off the crossbar. The Jackets missed on a couple other attempts just right of the goal.
The Jackets finally converted an opportunity as senior Jon Cutrone scored Fort Mill’s second goal of the game with about 18 minutes before the half.
Fort Mill extended its lead late in the first half as Cassidy got Falcons’ keeper Cameron Roberts out of position and was able to sneak a shot into the back of the net.
In the second half, Nation Ford came out more aggressive on offense and got two shots on goal in the first five minutes.
Despite the Falcons’ aggressive play, Fort Mill was the ones that scored in the second half. The Jackets had several shots on goal within a series of opportunities. Senior Zach Lundy found the back of the net and several minutes later Cassidy got his 30th goal on a penalty kick.
The Jackets added their final goal with 20 minutes left on a Strohl header off a corner kick.
FM – Austin Cassidy, 5:50
FM – Jon Cutrone, 22:26
FM – Cassidy, 33:38
FM – Zach Lundy, 49:33
FM – Cassidy, 56:13
FM – Mason Strohl, 60:20
Shots on goal: Nation Ford 9, Fort Mill 20.
Saves: Cameron Roberts (NF) 4, Taylor Bennett (NF) 1; Randall Phillips (FM) 8.
Corner kicks: Nation Ford 0, Fort Mill 7.
Records: Nation Ford 4-11, 3-8 Region III-AAAA; Fort Mill 17-3-1, 11-1 Region III-AAAA.