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Badgers score 3 goals late to avoid upset
Prep Boys Soccer

Prescott's Brayden Nelson drives the ball upfield as the Badgers take on the Coconino Panthers Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Prescott's Brayden Nelson drives the ball upfield as the Badgers take on the Coconino Panthers Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT — Wednesday night, the No. 2-ranked Prescott Badgers (8-0-1) boys soccer team found themselves in an unfamiliar position, trailing 2-1 late in the second half.

A slow start for the Badgers continued into the second half and was punctuated by a Coconino Panther goal with 22 minutes remaining, that gave them the lead once again, but this seemed to be then turning point for the game in favor of the Badgers.

Behind by a goal, the Badgers sent heavy numbers forward and continued to get good shots on net, while also taking quite a few from long range, around 30 yards out. Finally, with just over 16 minutes remaining, Claudio Orozco found the back of the net to pull the Badgers even, with Fernando Rodriguez and Ryan Doyle each adding a goal with under four minutes to play to give the Badgers the 4-2 victory.

“We waited too late to get it going,” Prescott head coach Phil Reid said. “We had a game plan to play some of the other players early in the game, because it gave them some of the experienced they needed. Unfortunately we fell behind, but the guys put it together and finished it off, good result.”

The victory was the result the Badgers were looking for, but trailing in a game has not been common for them this season and for Ryan Doyle trailing made them a bit nervous but it was a team effort to get the win

“It was little nerve wrecking going 1-0 down, but coach always says it takes every one of us to win a game and (today) all 24 or 25 of our players were needed,” Ryan Doyle said.

LOOK AHEAD

With the playoffs coming up, it is vital to get players experience playing in a game environment with the unknown possibilities that often times occur in the playoffs. It was evident from the start of the game that a few starters had been replaced for younger players that had seen less minutes through most of season.

The lineup changes seem to have an effect on the fluidity of the Badgers offense to defense transitions, with the Panthers getting a number of possible breakaways over the course of the match. However, although they fell behind, coach Reid was pleased with the team’s overall performance.

“(Changing the lineup) had something to do with (the slow start) but it’s about just getting the guys experience on the field and for them that’s kind of their first time starting in a game, their first time playing that many minutes in a game, so there was a little bit of a rust but they worked it out,” Reid said.

With the Badgers victory they are likely to maintain the No. 2 ranking in the state playoff standings, trailing only SalPointe Catholic who maintains almost a full point lead.

The Badgers also sit at first place in the region, half way through the Grand Canyon schedule and they already hold a victory over second place Flagstaff. With their performance so far this season, the Badgers ranking has them primed to host a playoff game and make a run at the 4A state championship.

UP NEXT

The Badgers will continue region play at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, when they travel to play Lee Williams.

Chris Whitcomb is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @AZChris32. Email him at cwhitcomb@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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