Surry Central kept its conference title hopes alive by beating Mount Airy 4-1 in soccer Thursday.
The top 2A team from the Northwest Conference gets home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
However, Central is 5-1 while West Stokes is 4-0-1 in the Northwest after edging the Eagles 1-0 in the first meeting. The Eagles have to make up ground in the second pass through the conference schedule.
Mount Airy took the first possession, but the Eagles intercepted the ball. Juan Lopez hit ahead to Jose Avalos for a score from the left side just 26 seconds into the match.
That might have been the fastest goal of the season, believed Central Coach Blake Roth.
In the 14th minute, Avalos had the ball on the right wing and centered it to Francisco Rangel for a score into the right corner past a diving Alex Mayo.
In the second half (59th minute), the two would hook up on an identical play for another goal.
The Eagles held a 2-0 lead for much of the first half before getting another goal off a long pass from midfield.
Defender Renferi Ramirez lofted a high ball from the right side to the middle of the field near the box. Avalos was able to get behind the defender and knock the ball into the goal for a 3-0 lead in the 30th minute.
The lead would stay 3-0 through halftime and 10 minutes into the second half.
Mount Airy got a direct kick. Sam Watson was able to bend the shot past the keeper for the Bears’ only goal.
After Rangel’s second score in the 59th minute, the Eagles held on for a 4-1 win.
“I felt like we made the most out of most of our chances,” said Roth.
“Mount Airy outhustled us the entire game, but I felt like we were able to control their passing,” said Roth.
“If there was a 50-50 ball, they were winning the majority of those, and I don’t like that,” he added.
The coach thought that maybe getting the first goal that early caused his team to let up a little.
“Mount Airy wanted to get back in it, but we were able to keep them at bay,” said Roth.
The Eagles are 8-1-2 overall. The Bears fall to 9-4, 3-2 in the conference. The Bears are the top 1A team right now and would get home-field advantage in the 1A playoffs.