POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — As the Indian Summer temperatures started their supposed fall on Wednesday night, the Point Pleasant High School boys soccer squad started heating up.
That’s because, by racking up four first-half goals and a half-dozen more in the second half, the host Black Knights blanked and rolled the St. Marys Blue Devils 10-0 inside Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field.
You heard correct.
Four markers in the first half, six more in the second, and senior Cole Walker wound up with his first career hat trick along with a pair of assists.
With the win, the Black Knights climbed above .500 to 7-6-1, while winless St. Marys remained that way at 0-15-0.
It was obvious to anyone on Wednesday that Point Pleasant was simply bigger, stronger and faster than the overmatched Blue Devils, as almost the entire match was contested in the Black Knights’ offensive half and third.
Six different players scored goals on 20 total shots, as Walker led the way with three with two apiece from Adam Verosky and Kaydean Eta.
Jacob Bryant got a goal off a nice assist from Garrett Hatten early in the second half, as Conner Fields finished off the scoring with the 10th and final Black Knight point with only 2:17 to go.
All of the Black Knights and young Blue Devils got to play, as Point Pleasant played well and stayed focused all throughout — despite what was a serious mismatch on paper.
“We knew going in that based on record, this was a game that we should be able to control,” said PPHS coach Chip Wood. “It was great that St. Marys tried to come out and play soccer with us. We wanted to work on our offense a little bit, trying to be more efficient and dribble and take spaces. At the same time, we didn’t want to make them (Blue Devils) feel bad or look bad. Our guys really stayed focused and executed exactly what we wanted to do tonight. I was really happy with that.”
Verosky, just five minutes and three seconds in and later with exactly 11 minutes remaining in the opening half, scored off Walker assists.
In between, Walker registered his first goal with 29-and-a-half minutes left on a Verosky assist, before Walker —just 10 minutes and 50 seconds later at the 18:43 mark — made it 3-0 on a penalty kick.
Bryant’s goal gave the Black Knights an insurmountable 5-0 advantage just seven minutes and 21 seconds into the second half, as Walker completed his hat trick off a Peyton Hughes assist with only 19 minutes to go.
Wood was happy for Walker, who had been the Black Knights’ net-minder in years past.
“Cole has been our goalkeeper for the past three years and he was keeper in junior high. We moved him out to try and solidify our midfield. But he deserves those three goals and that effort tonight,” said the coach. “He did a great job.”
Exactly seven minutes later, Alex Carlisle blasted a rocket from the 25-yard line that found the net, as that goal was unassisted to make it 7-0.
Eta earned his two tallies just three minutes apart for a 9-0 cushion — first scoring off a Fields assist at the eight-and-a-half minute mark before Bryant assisted him at the 5:33 point.
That set up the freshman Fields’ tally, as both sides sought out hard to try and have him score.
Point Pleasant outshot St. Marys 20-2, as Zach Rediger made both saves for the Black Knights.
Both Blue Devil shots came in the second half, as Cameron Frame finished with eight saves for St. Marys, while Skylar Bills stopped two.
The Black Knights also held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Point Pleasant played host to Parkersburg South on Thursday night, and returns home to welcome Williamstown on Saturday at noon.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106