In their most recent boys soccer game, it took the Hiland Hawks a little while to find the back of the net. However, once Scott Bodiker’s crew did finally break the ice against Canton Central Catholic, they did it again and again and again as they destroyed the Crusaders 9-0 in their Tuesday, Sept. 11 match-up at Hiland High School.
Hiland head coach Scott Bodiker’s team has now posted a long and successful run of wins over the Crusaders, although the difference in play between playing CCC in Canton and at home has been substantial.
“We were just looking at this, and it’s really strange that for whatever reason over the last decade we have had really good, competitive games with Central up at their place, and when they come down here, we have had our way with them, and I don’t know why that is,” Bodiker said. “Sometimes these city teams come to the country and take a long bus ride, and they are playing on grass instead of turf, and they don’t play well, and that has been an advantage for us.”
Despite controlling the ball and forcing the issue much of the first part of the game, the Hawks couldn’t seem to locate the net. However, after 16 minutes of play Chris Miller stroked a liner across the facing of the net, and Declan Howell went horizontal to head in the game’s first score with a beautiful effort.
That seemed to open the flood gates, and the Hawks started to cash in with regularity the rest of the half, especially in the following several minutes.
Chris Miller created another scoring opportunity two minutes later, and Jadon Yoder delivered a crushing strike from the 18 that settled into the back of the net to make it 2-0. Less than one minute later Howell scored again on a header, this time on a ball that deflected off the Crusaders’ keeper.
Just two minutes after that, Pat Miller drove a nice pass through the CCC defense, where he found Yoder to make it 4-0.
As Bodiker unloaded his bench and turned over his roster on the field, the Hawks kept producing. With 11 minutes to play in the half, Josh Schlabach scored off a pass from Carson Feikert, and he banged it home for the 5-0 lead. Three minutes later Brayden Gray took advantage of another picture-perfect cross from Schlabach to make it 6-0.
“Tonight is the kind of night where I’d rather see a guy make the extra pass and pick up an assist rather than score a goal,” Bodiker said. “We wanted to make sure we were moving the ball, and it was good to come away from this game without any kind of injury heading into a huge game for us with Western Reserve.”
The second half started out much like the first in that the Hawks didn’t produce much scoring, but Bodiker said he wanted his team to work on ball movement with the big lead, and Central did very little to post any kind of threat as Hiland midfielders and defenders controlled the ball and kept it in Central’s half of the field most of the game, leaving keeper Brant Klink with very little to do in net.
Hiland did finally produce a score when Howell completed the hat trick by dribbling through three defenders and making a beautiful sliding shot past the oncoming keeper.
Feikert got in the scoring column with 13 minutes to play when Pat Miller delivered a perfect crossing pass and allowed him to chip it by the keeper, and Genaro Gomez found himself standing all alone in front of the goal for an easy score after a ball caromed off of Chris Miller’s face right to him.
Bodiker said his team was able to control the tempo, and once the Hawks got a lead, Central got less aggressive and packed it in defensively, allowing his team to win almost every ball in the middle of the field. That kept the ball in Central’s half, but that was good because keeper Brant Klink has been working through a leg injury.
“He’s been nursing a leg injury and actually hasn’t taken a goal kick or punt for three games because we have been trying to take it easy with his legs. He’s about ready to be back at full strength,” Bodiker said.
The Hawks improved to 4-1-1 on the season and have used a number of players to produce goals, both in scoring and assists.