Originally scheduled for a 7 o’clock start, Franklin’s boys soccer match was moved up an hour in an attempt to outsmart Mother Nature.
The original starting time is when the Grizzly Cubs began to assert themselves.
Leading host Whiteland at halftime 1-0 on Thursday, Franklin used two second-half goals from sophomore midfielder Owen Atkison and two more from senior forward Fernando Lopez-Perez on its way to a 5-0 victory.
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Coach Tony Harris’ squad improves to 5-1-2 entering Saturday’s match at New Palestine. The Cubs sit atop the Mid-State Conference standings with a 3-0 mark.
“I didn’t think the first half went quite the way we wanted it to,” Harris said. “We had some chances we probably should have finished. Whiteland had some chances, too.
“They played a really good first half, I thought. Then in the second half we got some goals in, and we cut down on their scoring opportunities. That just kind of opened the game up a little bit for us.”
Franklin’s first-half score came at 18:28 on a goal by sophomore midfielder Garrett Snyder off of an assist from Atkison.
Atkison then produced consecutive goals at 38:20 and 29:30 to make it a 3-0 score. Lopez-Perez first found the back of the net with 24:38 remaining. He closed the scoring with 8:35 to play.
The Grizzly Cubs now have defeated their three conference foes — including Decatur Central and Mooresville — by a combined count of 12-0. Franklin’s next Mid-State Conference test is Tuesday at Martinsville.
Senior Ryan Clendening, one of three Grizzly Cubs captains (the other two being senior Sam VanderVeen and junior Joe Nerding), likes the way his team has managed to focus on one match at a time.
“It was a big win. We’re just trying to improve every game and not focus on the conference championship, per se,” Clendening said. “We focus on one game at a time. With Mooresville we focused on Mooresville and did the same thing with Decatur Central.
“We’re just trying to stay in the moment instead of thinking ahead.”
Whiteland dropped to 2-6 with a record of 1-2 against Mid-State Conference opponents.