LESLIE — After 20 minutes where neither side could break through, the Eaton Rapids soccer team got one on the board, then quickly started adding more in a 4-0 win over Leslie on Friday.
Eaton Rapids midfielder Miles Thompson played a role in all of it, scoring goals in the 22nd, 34th and 49th minutes and assisting on a goal from Bradon Ellis in the 40th.
“I moved up to forward and we started getting more runs and playing more on the ground,” Thompson said. “It opened up there and we made some adjustments and got some good looks.”
Before Thompson slotted home his first, neither team could gain the upper hand. Leslie had an early chance when a header was pushed aside by Eaton Rapids keeper Kyle Bush. Bush also got to a long through ball before any Blackhawks could get to it in the 12th minute. Shots from Alan Vang and Brogan Dodge later in the half sailed over the bar.
“I think we possessed a lot better those first 20 minutes, especially than we have at the beginning of the season,” Leslie Coach Michael Compton said. “We’re starting to play as a team, connecting, talking to each other. We weren’t turning the ball over as much in the first 20 as we did the second part of the half.”
Once Eaton Rapids (9-2) took control, Leslie had very few chances the rest of the way.
Thompson’s first came after Leslie had trouble clearing the ball out of the 18-yard box.
“I just saw an open opportunity and I just got over the ball and finished,” Thompson said. “Had to get it done.”
His second came off a crossing pass from Ellis, returning the favor with a crossing pass to Ellis for a goal with 50 seconds to go before halftime.
Leslie (2-10-1) had two shots on goal in the game, the first being in the third minute and the next coming in the 76th, when Bush was able to get to a Tyler Burley header off a long throw-in from Dodge.
Eaton Rapids Coach Mike Decker said that his defense limiting Leslie’s chances is the same thing he’s seen from them all season.
“We’ve only given up five goals all year. Those guys have been really good all year,” Decker said. “They just play fearless. The first half [Leslie] was dangerous at times. They just kept plugging away.”
Camron West also had a chance in the 77th minute but couldn’t settle a ball in the 6-yard box and Eaton Rapids cleared it away.