Frankfort High’s boys soccer team was ready for its first rivalry game of the season.
The Panthers defeated Franklin County 3-0 Thursday in the second round of the Rotary Capital City Classic at Sower Soccer Complex.
"Our team has been working hard,” FHS coach Sherrill Smith. “They came out tonight and were wanting it. Our entire staff and players have worked so hard preparing for this game, and I’m not just saying that. They’ve worked hard all summer, and it showed tonight.”
Frankfort and Western Hills, both undefeated in the tournament, will play for the championship at 8 p.m. Saturday while the Flyers will face Owen County at 6.
The Panthers struck early Thursday, scoring their first goal when Bailey Spade played a through ball to Travis Skelton, who had outrun the defense and had a one-on-one shot against FCHS goalkeeper Adam Gehlhausen.
That came with 30:26 left in the first half. Just 2 1/2 minutes later Skelton scored again off another assist from Spade, and the score stayed 2-0 for the rest of the half.
“There was a lot of movement,” Smith said. “We weren’t going to attack with one or two players. We had our holding mids, our wings, our attacking mids, and that was five or six guys going all out. The effort was there.
“I’m really proud of the work by our staff getting us ready.”
Frankfort’s focus made it tough for the Flyers to get their offense going.
“They came out tonight and wanted it,” FCHS coach Louis Tandy said. “They took us out of our game. They got every 50-50 ball, made better passes. They took it to us, and we didn’t respond.”
The final goal of the game came with 35:49 remaining, when FHS’ Jordan Perry took a direct kick near midfield that was headed by a Franklin County player for an own goal.
“I thought the first part of the second half we strung a few passes together and made some decent runs,” Tandy said, “but then they scored their third goal and took us out of that.
“The last 20 minutes of the second half we didn’t give up. We made better runs, better decisions, but we couldn’t get the ball in the net.”
Gehlhausen and FHS’ Church Gray played in goal the entire game.
“Jordan Perry, Russell Lile, Michael Reid and Keith Estes did a superb job on defense,” Smith said, “and I can’t say enough about our keeper Church Gray. He held the ball, let the players get in formation. He listened to the coaching staff and let players get where they needed to be.
“I thought Bailey Spade controlled the middle with diagonal passes, holding the ball when he needed to and making things, when they had to happen, happen.
“Franklin County is a very solid team. I know they lost a lot of players, but they gave a great effort. Coach Tandy is doing a tremendous job getting them ready for the season, and I’m glad we got this win early in the season.”
Next up for Frankfort is Western Hills, which defeated Owen County 4-0 Thursday. The Panthers defeated Owen 6-2 Tuesday.
“Saturday we take on a very good Western Hills team, a very experienced team,” Smith said. “Coach Cowan has done a great job with them. We’ll go to practice and get back to work tomorrow.”
For a photo gallery from the game, please click here.