Cats' offense sharp in sloppy conditions
By MARTIN BRYANT | News-Telegram Correspondent

Feb. 20, 2004 -- Poor playing conditions have been known to produce less than exciting soccer games. While the field at Gerald Prim Stadium was sloppy the Sulphur Springs offense was sharp as they breezed past North Lamar 8-1.

The Wildcats overpowered the Panthers throughout the game while improving their season record to 12-6-1. Offensively SSHS put 25 shots on goal. In the first minute of the game an off side penalty prevented a very early scoring chance but the tone for the evening had been set.

Before the match was finished six different Cats had scored a goal and five others had recorded assists.

Layne Ashmore opened the scoring in the third minute with a left-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard box. Clay McGraw played a nice ball to Ashmore who promptly finished his first scoring chance of the night to put the Cats in front 1-0.

In the 13th minute Brent Holly took possession inside the North Lamar six-yard box and dished the ball to a wide-open Jim Grand-Lienard, who scored his first goal of the evening. While Grand-Lienard's goal proved to be the game winner the Cats weren't done scoring yet.

Wilson Jones scored in the 17th minute off an assist from Timo Torrez to put SSHS up 3-0, but the Panthers responded. North Lamar scored less than two minutes later to make the score 3-1. Fourteen seconds later, Jones and Torrez hooked up again for a goal and a 4-1 Wildcat lead.

Our offense played well and finally found out we can score goals and not rely on our defense to keep us in games," Jones said. "It's good to get a win this way especially at the end of the first half of district."

The Cats kept the pressure on North Lamar's goal and in the 29th minute Eric Chenault scored following a corner kick. Ironically the 5-1 lead meant the Wildcats had scored as many goals in the first half as they had in their previous five games.

Grand-Lienard scored his second goal of the night in the 30th minute and the first half ended with the Cats holding a commanding 6-1 lead. Besides the goal by North Lamar, the half was completely dominated by SSHS.

The second half was much the same story as the first with the offensive threats coming one after another for the Wildcats. Holly scored in the 51st minute and Wilfredo Larios added a goal in the 73rd minute to make the final score 8-1.

"Offensively we did a good job of finishing tonight," coach Andy Holt said. "Hopefully it will get us going for the rest of district."

While North Lamar managed a goal, it was only the second allowed by the Cats in district play. The Panthers managed just two shots while goalkeeper Jeremy Potter had one save.

"Overall we played well and took care of our business," Holt said, "We beat someone we were supposed to beat tonight."

SSHS improves to 5-1 in district play and moves into second place after Texas High was defeated Friday. The Wildcats now trail Mt. Pleasant by one point with the second round of district play beginning Friday.

The Cats host Paris on Saturday with the junior varsity beginning at 1 p.m. and the varsity game set for 3 p.m. SSHS beat Paris 4-0 to open district play earlier this season.

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