OAKWOOD – With a goal from captain Mason Jett in the 68th minute, the Hoopeston Area high school soccer team defeated Oakwood high school 1-0 on Thursday night at Oakwood middle school.
Senior midfielder and captain Elijah Yates had his back to the goal when he collected a pass from Jett. With Yates’ back still to the goal, Jett maneuvered to his teammate’s right and controlled Yates’ backwards pass, booting the ball to the top left corner of the goal.
“It was a pretty fun little move,” Jett said regarding the assist from Yates, whom he has played soccer with since grade school. “It was the smart play too. I passed to him, I called for the drop and it worked.”
The goal came from one of Hoopeston Area’s numerous possessions in Oakwood territory. While the Comets started the match with the ball, it was the Cornjerkers who controlled it for the majority of the game.
During the scoreless first half, Oakwood relied on booting the ball into a 14 mile-per-hour headwind to advance past midfield, while Hoopeston led their charges with a short-pass, ground campaign.
“That’s [controlling possession] Hoopeston’s game,” Oakwood head coach Eric Fenton said about the team, whom he feels is the best in the area. “We’re trying to develop that possession. Against other teams we might be able to do it. Against a team like that, it’s tough. … We did our best to play it out of the back but most of the time we were stuck being forced to clear the ball.”
The battle for possession was, at times, a battle in the most literal sense. The game saw 20 fouls and one yellow card, which was issued to Yates at the 66th minute for dissention after Yates disputed a foul call.