Panthers edge Newport 2-1

The Cubs have improved greatly since absorbing a 5-0 beating from CHS.

INDEPENDENCE -- Central's boys soccer team pounded Newport 5-0 just a few weeks ago. Still, Panthers coach Rich Abrams spoke cautiously prior to an Oct. 8 rematch between the two schools at Talmadge Middle School.

Apparently, Abrams knew what he was talking about because Central had to work hard for a 2-1 win the second time around against the Cubs.

"They just came back as a better team," Abrams said. "I heard they had beaten both Philomath and Yamhill-Carlton. They've turned the program around since we beat them the first time. I don't know how, but they did."

Central (9-1-1 overall, 5-0 league) took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on a goal by Jose Hernandez. Midfielder Victor Alvarez set up the score.

"Alvarez attacked from the midfield and overlapped," Abrams said. "He passed the ball across the goal at a right angle, and Hernandez side-footed it in. It was the kind of thing a coach likes to see. I've been trying to get (Alvarez) to overlap. He finally did it, and it paid off."

The Cubs tied it with about 10 minutes left in the first half. Central took the lead for good with another nice display of soccer skills in the game's 68th minute.

Newport's goalie made a diving shot on a free kick taken by Central's Jesus Hernandez. At first, it appeared the ball simply would roll out of bounds. But CHS's Michael Phillips slid in and hooked the ball into the goal with his left foot.

"I think we're doing really well," Abrams said. "Obviously, we haven't played a lot outside our league except in preseason, and we did pretty well there, too. We've grown a lot as a team. A lot of players have really improved, and we're still a young team."


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