The Lions shut out Brandon 4-0 to win the Wharton Wildcat Invitational.
By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
Published January 25, 2004
TAMPA - King was firing on all cylinders Saturday in a 4-0 demolishing of Brandon in the championship of the Wharton Wildcat Invitational.
"These guys are like a perfectly tuned engine right now," Lions coach Vaclav Duda said. "They're really putting the ball in the net."
Duda said his team struggled to find its rhythm in recent losses to East Bay and Alonso, but the return of several players from injury was the difference in winning the inaugural Wildcat trophy.
Midfielder Brian Kirk, who missed several games with a hip injury, was instrumental in the Lions' dominance of the midfield.
Kirk scored twice, and along with Toyin Phillips, Buddy Wilks, and Alex Yarnell, helped neutralize the Eagles attack.
"When these guys play well together and control the midfield, we're unstoppable," Duda said.
Kirk scored early on an assist from Wilks. Then Brandon had several chances before King broke through for another goal just before halftime. Kyle Lokuta made a long throw-in that Yarnell tapped to Nathan Walker for the finish.
Not content to sit on their lead, the Lions struck for two more goals within 15 seconds of each other late in the game.
In the 70th minute Kirk nailed a blazing header off a perfect corner kick from Wilks. On the ensuring kickoff, the Lions stole it and Walker fed Nick Baker for another goal.
King goalie Sanel Boric had a tremendous tournament, stopping a penalty kick in a semifinal win over Wharton on Thursday and stonewalling Eagles striker Derek Goforth on a point-blank attempt in the second half Saturday.
Brandon (13-3-4) and King (8-2-4) tied 0-0 and 1-1 this season, but the Lions clearly dominated Saturday. That should make next week's district playoffs even more interesting, given the Eagles are the top seed and King is third behind East Bay.
"(King) outworked us and out-hustled us," Brandon coach Allen Ware said. "They've proven they're the best team in our district, even though we're the top seed."