The storylines were abundant after Western Hills’ win over Owen County in the Rotary Capital City Classic at Sower Soccer Field on Tuesday night. But WHHS head coach Daniel Cowan could talk about only one.
Cowan focused proudly on John Craycraft’s goal to finalize the Wolverines’ lead at 7-2. It was the senior’s first score in varsity play.
“Cory (Johnson) had a great game,” Cowan said as he summarized the game. “He was the one that kept us going in the first half — him and Adam Goss, but John Craycraft is the star of the show tonight.”
Craycraft came off of the bench as WHHS (3-0-1) built a dominant lead on the Rebels (3-3) and with 10:53 left in the game, the senior smashed a ball into the back of the net. He ran arms spread wide open to his bench and celebrated with his teammates and coaches.
“It is his senior year and he doesn’t get a whole lot of playing time,” his coach said. “In practice yesterday, he guaranteed me he was going to score a goal. I’ll be damned if he didn’t come out and score a goal. He has scored a few goals for JV, but never in varsity.”
Fans chanted and called for Craycraft as his team tried multiple times to add to his score total. Cowan said everyone was behind the senior at that point.
It was a score that helped make a strong second half look even better after a flat first, Cowan said.
“We just didn’t show up ready to play,” he said. “Everyone was all excited about being put in the top 25 and ready for the Franklin County game, but no one was ready for Owen County. No one was ready to play.”
Three minutes into the game, the Wolverines grabbed their first goal from a cluster of players in front of Owen County’s net. Senior Tanner Blackburn came away with the point and a 1-0 lead for WHHS.
Owen County answered less than a minute later as Carlos Perez hit a goal tying the game 1-1. The slugfest raged on as senior Adam Goss drove down the field, faking right and kicking the ball left for the score and 2-1 lead.
The Rebels’ Perez hit another goal off a header, keeping the Rebels in the game with another tie. Less than two minutes after his goal, WHHS’ junior Cory Johnson connected with the back of the net for the 3-2 lead before halftime.
But it was a second half that revealed just why the Wolverines are a ranked team. Johnson scored on a free kick over a wall of defenders solidifying a WHHS 4-2 lead.
Next, sophomore Mason Smith answered with another score with 21 minutes left, making the lead stretch to 5-2.
Johnson fired again with 19 minutes left for a 6-2 WHHS lead and then Craycraft delivered his first goal of his career to end the game with a 7-2 win for the Wolverines.
“They did everything we asked them to and they got the results they deserved,” Cowan said.
WHHS will play Frankfort on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the second day of the Rotary Capital City Classic.
“If we play like we did in this second half, I will put us up against anyone in the state,” Cowan said.