Second-half blitz leads Sevier County past Seymour
A year ago, a second-half blitz broke Sevier County’s back in a blowout loss to Seymour.
The Smoky Bears returned the favor Friday night on the new turf at Householder Field.
“I was just fired up,” said Sevier County striker Anthony Lemus.”I was like, ‘I have to get some goals.’ Revenge for last season (when) they killed us. I was just focused on scoring more goals.”
It was a rebound put away by Donovan Hull off a Lemus shot that got the scoring started on Friday. Two minutes later, Lemus got his own tally on a breakaway. By the time the dust settled, the sophomore had a pair of goals in a 5-0 victory. Paul Butuza and Chance Arnold added late goals for the Bears.
It was a stunning conclusion after the game was scoreless at the half, much like last year when the Eagles led 1-0 at half on the way to a 5-0 victory. Lemus, who missed a win over Central this week with a knee injury, had opportunities in the first 40 minutes on Friday, but most found the side netting.
An interception off a goal kick was quickly put to his feet down the sideline less than three minutes into the second half. After burning past a pair of defenders, the sophomore pushed the ball toward the net where Eagles keeper Luke Sharpe deflected it right onto Hull’s waiting foot.
The killer blow came a couple minutes later when Lemus broke down the middle of the field and blasted a second goal past Sharpe.
“I really just think we didn’t come out with the right mindset,” said Eagles senior Kameron Grunenwald. “We didn’t come out ready to play. There’s something missing that we can’t figure out. We keep coming out, losing the intensity throughout the game. We’ve got to stop doing that.”
The two-goal blitz was part of five shots peppered at the Seymour net in the first five minutes of the second half. Lemus made it 3-0 with 26 minutes to play, cutting back on a long ball and ripping another shot into the back of the net.
“We just want to throw shot after shot after shot,” said Bears coach Bryan Atchley. “Even if it goes over the net, we let them know that we’re coming. That’s something we preach a lot.”
The Eagles had some chances in the first half to strike, including a free kick from about 20 yards out that Grunenwald sent high over the net. But the hosts struggled to develop a consistent connection between the midfield and their attacking forwards, especially in the second half.
“We’re not moving well off the ball,” said Seymour coach Drew Payne. “And when we do find feet, we’re not trapping it and circulating the play. The play ends. It’s a dead end. … We’ve got to get better.”