The Loudon High School Redskins soccer team made a statement Thursday with a 9-0 rout of Clinton High School at home.
The Redskins scored the first three goals in under 10 minutes and kept pouring it on in the first half. Luke Amburn scored the ninth goal at the end of the first half, which ended the game by the mercy rule.
“I think I’ve said it before but I do not like the mercy rule,” Yoni Espinoza, Loudon head soccer coach, said. “We’re trying to get the passing patterns going and it’s going to help those teams get the experience. I think the guys did good. They came out and did their job. Then toward the 20-wminute mark, I started pulling everybody just to give the other guys to score.”
Amburn, Francisco Aguilera, Mario Lopez and Rufino Rodriguez each scored two goals. Cherinet Feezell also added one to give the Redskins the largest margin of victory this season.
“We started off playing really well,” Alfonso Vega, LHS senior, said. “Last year, we went to their place and it was a good game. We got a win, but we didn’t get a big head because of that. We came out here strong and we just possessed the ball. We just tried to focus on possessing the ball rather than scoring, but if the chances were there, we took them. Our goal for this match was to come together as a team and have more confidence with the ball, especially in the back line. We wanted to build our way into scoring and these are the type of games that give you the chance to improve as a team.”
The Redskins started the season 4-0-1, but hit a rough patch two weeks ago after dropping a match to Lenoir City High School and recording two ties with White House and South Doyle high schools.
“I think we know we have a good team, without being arrogant,” Espinoza said. “Showing up there with that in your head, we ended up doing a lot of standing around. The movements weren’t there and I think our mind failed us on that one.”
The loss was a tough pill to swallow, but Vega believes the team has learned from the experience.
“We went in there and we thought it was going to be easy, so we underestimated our opponents in my opinion,” Vega said. “That’s what held us down, really. We couldn’t finish up top and we couldn’t build any plays. It was a blessing, if I can call it that. We learned from everything in there and we’ve applied it in practice.”
Loudon bounced back last week to clinch its first two district wins against Anderson County and Roane County’s Kingston high schools.
“I think we’re getting the concept of what we’re trying to do,” Espinoza said. “We started out with a really good season and then Lenoir City kind of took us down. It’s all mental, so we’re now trying to get the rhythm back. This is what we want. Our middle’s playing really good. South Doyle was a really good team, but we should’ve created more opportunities. We’re trying to get off that low. We trained and the team got their job done. Whoever you’re playing — whether they’re hard or not so hard — just go out there and play your game.”
The Redskins snapped a 1,470-day home win streak Friday with a 2-0 loss to Sevier County High School, but the Redskins have their eyes fixed on their three remaining games, including a final district match against Scott High School.
“I think we need to improve on putting in the back of the net for sure,” Espinoza said. “I think our defense has really stepped up and understanding how to cover and become an option for offense. I think, overall, our midfield has just taken it to the next level and I think we’re building on that. I think we’re ready, but we’ll see.”