DUBLIN — Just as they did in their first meeting on Oct. 8, the East Bladen Eagles used a big second half to propel them to a Four County Conference soccer win over cross-county rival West Bladen on Thursday.
Back in that first match, East and West found themselves knotted at 1-1 when halftime arrived. But the Eagles went on to score four second-half goals to claim a 5-1 win.
On Thursday, West opened a 1-0 advantage by intermission, only to see East pepper the Knights’ goal for four second-half goals and take a 4-1 win.
The Knights and Eagles battled through a majority of the first half without anything to show for it. But with about 7 minutes left before intermission, West Bladen’s Emerson Escobar zipped between two East Bladen defenders and blasted a shot at the goal from 25 yards out and found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
That lead stood up for the Knights until halftime, but the tables turned in the second half.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Greyson Heustess took a pass from Josue Guvera and rocketed a shot into the West Bladen net to knot the match at 1-1.
About 8 minutes later, East Bladen struck again — this time it was Alex Felder who fed Guvera and the sophomore blasted a shot into the net for a 2-1 Eagles advantage.
The two teams traveled the field back and forth over the next 15 minutes without a change on the scoreboard. But with about 7 minutes to play, Heustess was awarded a penalty kick and his laser shot found success, giving East Bladen a 3-1 edge.
The Eagles scored again with less than a minute to play when a long pass from Felder found Guvera, who dribbled past a defender and the West goalie to tap in his second goal of the match.
The loss finishes West Bladen’s season at 4-16-2 overall and 1-13 in the conference, while East Bladen now awaits word from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on whether its 6-14 overall, 3-11 conference marks are good enough for a Class 2-A playoff berth. Those brackets will be decided on Saturday.
Thursday was Senior Night at West Bladen, and the Knights’ soccer program said farewell to nine seniors — Ray Jones, Antonio Gonzalez-Lopez, Felix Reboller, Seth Britt, Christian Diego, Alex Vasquez, Anthony Sebastian, Sergio Jimenez-Rojas and Osiel Munoz.