The Frankfort and Western Hills boys soccer teams were in a close battle for the first half Tuesday, but FHS pulled away in the second to win 5-0 in the first round of the 41st District tournament at Franklin County.

Frankfort (17-4-1) will play Great Crossing Thursday at 8 p.m. for the district championship.

The Panthers, who defeated WHHS 4-0 during the regular season, held a 1-0 advantage at halftime Tuesday.

“I thought our three center backs and the middle did a good job of controlling the middle of the field and putting us in good attacking position,” FHS coach Brad Kennedy said. “Their goalkeeper (TJ Walker) made some tremendous saves. That’s our plan, to get shots and make the keeper make plays.

“We had one goal at halftime, and fortunately in the second half we were able to find the back of the net a few more times.”

Ashtin Austin had the only goal in the first half, scoring out of a scrum in front of the WHHS goal, but less than four minutes into the second half Carter Gilbert scored to give FHS a 2-0 lead.

Preston Barber had a goal with 27:16 left for a 3-0 Panther lead, and Tyron Reynolds’ goal off an assist from Ty Miller put Frankfort up 4-0 with 18:43 remaining.

The final goal came with 6:44 remaining when Thiago Pires forced a save, and Ty Hancock collected the loose ball and put it in the net to make the final score 5-0.

“Our boys played hard, they played with heart, and that’s all I ever ask,” WHHS coach Chad Mangum said.

“TJ played excellent. I hated to take him out, but it got to the point he couldn’t walk. He made some great saves that kept it close for awhile.”

Walker was injured in a second-half collision in goal. He played for a few minutes after the collision but was replaced by Will Nguyen.

“We were able to move the ball like we wanted for awhile, but it comes down to shots,” Mangum said. “They took more shots than we did, and that was the difference.”

“Hats off to our center back trio of Chefor Gwandi, Ashtin Austin and McLain Barber, and Dawson (Pearl) in goal,” Kennedy said. “They were focused and disciplined, and they tried to make everything hard instead of giving up anything easy.”

Western Hills (5-10-2) graduates eight seniors off this year’s team. They are Nick Armstrong, Evan Bennett, Baylor Brooker, Joey Curtsinger, Josh Lumpkins, Lucas Nance, Jarrett Stephens and Chinmay Tope.

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