Franklin boys soccer coach Tony Harris liked his team maintained the intensity throughout the game on Thursday.
The Grizzly Cubs dominated time of possession in an 8-1 victory over host Greenwood in Mid-State Conference action.
“We pressed them hard the whole game,” Harris said. “We got the turnovers and we turned that into good passing. We got good shots on goal. First half, things didn’t go our way and we didn’t built a big enough lead. But we really got going in the second half. I liked our intensity in both games this season. If we can continue doing that, we’re going to be where we want to be at the end of the season.”
Franklin (2-0, 1-0) held Greenwood (0-2, 0-2) scoreless until the final minute of the game, when senior midfielder Nick Mullins scored.
The Grizzly Cubs led 3-0 at halftime. Junior midfielder Ethan Elsner scored on a penalty kick to give Franklin a 1-0 lead in the first few minutes of the game. Junior forward Cole Hufford scored with 19 minutes left in the first half and JD Sever scored with 12 minutes remaining.
In the second half, Franklin sophomore midfielder Matt Payne delivered a goal in the opening minutes. Elsner’s second goal came with 17 minutes left in the second half, making it 5-0.
Harris said Elsner is performing well after being injured during the summer.
“He’s had a pretty good start to the year, so I’m happy where he is at,” Harris said.
Senior midfielder Griffin Atkison pushed the lead to 6-0 with about 12 minutes left. His brother, sophomore forward Camden Atkison, scored twice in the final 10 minutes.
“Those were his first varsity goals, so that was cool,” Harris said of the younger Atkison, a junior varsity starter.
Harris, whose team topped Shelbyville 2-0 in its opener on Tuesday, said the Grizzly Cubs benefit from some experienced returnees.
“We have a lot of seniors and juniors and some sophomores that are playing really well,” Harris said. “We’ve got an idea of what we want to do, but as the year goes on we’ll get there better and better. We’ve got a bunch of goal scorers who can put the ball in the back of the net. We just have to find them, press, create some turnovers and create a little havoc on the final third.”
Franklin junior goalie Adam Ott, who had the shutout in the opener, nearly had another one.
“I hate giving up that goal late but we had a lot of JV guys in the game,” Harris said. “It was my JV back line. We’ll learn from that. Adam was our backup last year and he played really well today.”
Second-year Greenwood coach Dan Priscu was impressed with Franklin.
“They are very experienced and a lot of good club players,” Priscu said. “They are slowly but surely getting but I want my team to learn to stay together. We have too many aspects both mentally and physically on the field where we are not staying together. We would be higher up the field and their transitions with space. We were playing together enough to see who was supposed to cover those runs.”
Priscu said the team’s final goal was a positive thing for the team’s mentality.
“We are still pushing,’ he said. “We are still growing. We’re always going to keep going until the end.”