Aberdeen season opener against Elma was successful in getting the Bobcats onto the field and playing. For the Eagles, it eventually became an endurance test on a crisp Thursday evening along the banks of the Wishkah River.
The Bobcats took advantage of a short-handed Eagles squad and grabbed full control of this non-league contest, 7-0, at Stewart Field.
Miguel Torres, Cesar Corona and Tony Oropeza scored in the first half, while Christian Sanchez twice, Alejandro Felipe and Robby Lewis scored in the second half for Aberdeen (1-0).
“It was a good experience for everyone to get some time in, but we need to start up better at home,” AHS head coach Larry Fleming said. “We definitely didn’t look as good as I thought we would. It was unfortunate that A.J. was hurt and got knocked around. After a while, we were able to get into it and knock it around pretty good. It wasn’t a bad season opener.”
Elma only suited up 12 players due to availability and lost two players in the first half. In the 14th minute, goalkeeper A.J. Hernandez collided with Torres as both players went after the ball. Hernandez left the game with a facial injury.
Ten minutes later, defender Mario Yanez was injured in a scrum for the ball and left the contest, leaving the Eagles (0-2) with just 10 players for the remainder of the match. Midfielders Alex Salas and Avery Brown did work in goal in relief of Hernandez.
“I thought before A.J. went down, we were playing pretty well,” Elma head coach Carson Seaberg said. “We looked better than we did against Black Hills and possessed the ball better. Who knows what would have happened if we had the whole game play out, but it is difficult when you lose your starting goalkeeper and defender to play with just 10.”
Aberdeen had a slow start to the match in the first 10-15 minutes, but was finding its touch with short passes and lobbed passes on the run. Elma found a few runs into the Aberdeen defensive zone, even winning a dangerous free kick from 20 yards out in the ninth minute that was cleared away.
After a five-minute delay as Elma coaches and on-site officials tended to Hernandez, Salas put on a red goalkeeper jersey. The senior picked up a few saves as Aberdeen began peppering the Elma goal to test him.
Torres scored the opening goal when he converted a penalty kick in the 22nd minute. Corona was fouled inside the penalty area on a cross from Torres to get the spot kick. Two minutes later, Corona scored in close for a 2-0 lead.
Oropeza made it 3-0 at the half when a handball was called on Elma, resulting in another penalty kick, in the 38th minute.
In the second half, Aberdeen liberally substituted players into the contest and switched around positions to give everyone work on the field.
Sanchez, a sophomore midfielder, got a one-touch goal off a corner kick in the 44th minute and added another goal from 18 yards out in the 53rd minute. Felipe also scored on a one-touch corner kick shot in the 71st minute and Lewis, a senior sweeper, finished the scoring with a long-range shot with four minutes remaining.
Fleming cited Brandon Hulscher, Damon McCormick, Dylan Hughes and Elias Jimenez for their work on defense.
Aberdeen won the junior varsity match, 6-0. Rigo Alavez scored a hat trick and Enrique Cuevas scoring twice for the Bobcats.