Lewis Central’s leading scorer Brayden Shepherd scored three more points to complete his hat-trick as they beat the Titans to North Spoke in the 3A-7 Territorial Semifinals on Monday.
“Shepp can do anything,” Titans head coach James Driver said. “He’s a great finisher. He dribbles well. His vision is phenomenal. His IQ is very high. And he’s confident with the ball. He’s our leader, or the leader of this program. It’s because of him that he’s alone and he scored us a hat-trick.” It’s great to get us to the territorial final again. “
The Titans junior scored first in the ninth minute, running in a long forward pass from the left, speeding with touches to fend off the Comets defense and slipping a shot behind goal.
However, the visiting team responded immediately with Malachi Blevins’ shot less than a minute later.
The next 10 minutes were evenly matched with a slight advantage for the host team. In the 20th minute, the ball went to Brandon Hoss, who reestablished the Titans’ advantage when he toeed the ball into the back of the net.
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Keeping the momentum going, Shepard sent a Comets defender into the grass with a cutback to midfield and a curling shot into the top right corner of the net.
After arriving last year and trying to find his place in the team and bond with his teammates, Shepard is confident and aware of the bond the Titans have now.
“I think you will notice the bond that was built. And I will remember being in a position where I was able to demonstrate leadership as a junior and be respected by my juniors. I hope that I can give them that experience so that they can grow as well. “
With the Titans leading 3-1, two minutes into the second half, a loose ball in front of the net slipped out of the hands of Kamdin Cross and was sucked into the back of the net, giving the Comets a run. .
It was the first game in 16 days and the driver thought his fitness level wasn’t quite there, but when the Comets put pressure on him, the team responded.
“We were kind of lazy and laid back [sic] Slightly. But I’m proud to see my players do it, in terms of them scoring very quickly and being able to respond like we did. “
But the Titans regained a two-point cushion with Sam Adkins assisting on Adrian Robles’ assist and a shot into the bottom right corner with 30 minutes remaining.
Shepard then scored a hat-trick with a shot over the left of the goal to extend the Titans’ lead to three. He thought goals were mostly related to the move to the top.
“Driver writes like that. You know me and Boston[Hensley]and Sam[Adkins]are at the top. We’re all shifting very fast like that. And it’s just , I could stand in a position like that’ so that I could put them away. “
Shepard said when he misses opportunities in front of the net, they start at the back.
“It definitely helps the back line. I think that’s the big part. In practice, everything is like that. It’s just straight, it’s intense, we push each other every day. That’s it. I think that’s a big part.” And when it comes to technical ability, I think playing football all year round, having the ball at home all the time, that helps a lot too. “
The win puts the Titans back in the Territorial Finals at Dallas Center Grimes, one win away from returning to the 3A State Tournament to defend last year’s championship.
“It’s going to cost everything,” Shepard said. “We’re going to leave everything on the field, but if we have to, we’ll have to crawl out.”
Driver added that it takes guts to win.
“We have to play together. It will be tough. They were the seeds.” So we know they’re going to bring the win and they’re going to have home field advantage. So it’s going to be important for us to get there and be ready from the moment the whistle blows and the game will be close. So we have to play tough.”
North spoke (8-7) …… 1 1 — 2
Lewis Central (12-5) .. 3 2 — 5