Polar Bears down cross-town rival Bees 7-0 in sectional soccer

·4 min read

Oct. 22—FAIRMONT — Another chapter in the East Fairmont-Fairmont Senior rivalry was written Thursday night, as the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears dispatched the East Fairmont Bees 7-0 behind an explosive second half.

Kaelen Armstrong struck early on for the Polar Bears, scoring a goal in the 5th minute of play after an indirect kick from the sideline landed right in front of him.

Just as he and his teammates finished celebrating, lightning struck off in the distance. Officials delayed the game because of the weather — play did not resume until 9 p.m. after East-West Stadium and all its inhabitants sat through a thorough drenching. Thankfully, the rain let up for the most part following the delay.

The Bees had a chance to tie shortly after the game restarted. A East shot ricocheted off the goalie, and the goal was left undefended for a split-second. East Fairmont had two more swings to try and knock the ball in, but one was stuffed by the foot of a Fairmont Senior defender, and the other was a whiff.

Armstrong would score again a few minutes later, cashing in on a feed from Bubby Towns, who set up his teammate after putting multiple defenders on skates.

The score would remain 2-0 for the rest of the half. Neither team was able to sustain possession for too long in the first 40 minutes, but where Fairmont Senior had breakthroughs that resulted in points, East couldn't break down the Polar Bears' defense, which had nine shutouts entering Thursday.

"They came out after the delay, I think they played very aggressive," Fairmont Senior head coach Darrin Paul said. "I think we just kind of tried to play not to lose, since we were up one-nothing. At halftime I told them 'Fellas we've got to come out and attack and play more possession.' I think we did that in the second half, worked the ball, got some great opportunities and we finished them. We did a good job there."

Heeding their coaches' words, Fairmont Senior upped their aggressiveness in the second, scoring five goals over the course of the latter frame. After a more equitable split in the first, the Polar Bears dominated possession of the ball in the second.

The offensive explosion started in the 43rd minute, as Ro Jones fielded a long pass from Bubby Towns, who dribbled in until he was parallel to the goal and sent a cross that Ashton Cecil punched in.

Towns got in on the scoring himself next to bring the score to 4-0. What started as a routine play — Towns chasing after a pass that was rolling to the arms of the goalie — suddenly became anything but, as Towns managed to kick the ball away from the goalie and score uncontested.

A short time later, in the 51st minute, Towns scored again, this time off an assist from Armstrong.

It was time for the hat trick in the 58th minute. Towns fielded a pass from Denzel Duvert center-cut from the goal. After a quick touch to set up his shot, Towns let loose a nearly un-savable strike — a high-velocity missile that barely snuck under the crossbar.

Clint Radcliffe got in on the action for the Polar Bears' last goal of the night. East was trying to reset their offense by dropping the ball off to their keeper, but Radcliffe was in hot pursuit. Instead of opting to scoop up the ball, the goalie tried to kick it away. The two met the ball at the same time, and after the clash, the ball careened toward the goal, and Radcliffe was quick enough to finish the play and thump the ball into the back of the net.

"They settled down and they played the way we know they can play," Paul said of his team's second half.

Next up for the defending state champs is the sectional championship game, in which Fairmont Senior will play Frankfort.

"The biggest thing is that we've got to play consistent. I think we did that in the second half but obviously you've got to play 80 minutes," Paul said. "We've got a good Frankfort team coming in here who just beat Keyser tonight seven-nothing. For us it's just one game at a time. We beat a good East Fairmont team now we've got to go beat a good Frankfort team and try to get to the regional finals."

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548 or by email at nhenthorn@timeswv.com.

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