COOS BAY — Marshfield’s head boys soccer coach Drew Jones wasn’t watching when his team scored two of its three goals on Wednesday night.
“I get nervous on the sideline so I don’t want to watch,” said Jones, who turns away when his team shoots penalty kicks. While Jones wasn’t watching, Marshfield senior Pedro Casas scored two goals from the spot — seven minutes into both halves — on the way to the Pirates defeating North Bend 3-1 at home in a foul-heavy edition of the Civil War.
Before either team could get settled into the game, Marshfield sophomore Alberto Castillo was fouled in the box by North Bend’s Spencer Barker in the seventh minute of play. Cool, calm and collected, Casas stepped up and hit the ball straight on to give the Pirates the lead.
“PKs are all about reps. When you get up there, like at that point, you know you’ve got confidence for the PK and then it’s just a mental game with the keeper, not gonna lie,” said Casas, the captain of the team. “So just go up there with confidence and hope it goes in.”
Marshfield proceeded to push the pace and in the process outshot North Bend eight to two in the first half. The Pirates possessed the ball and were able to create chances using the speed of Casas in the midfield and movement from Castillo and forward Ernesto Hernandez. The Pirates finished with 17 shots and the Bulldogs had seven.
After Casas was given a yellow card for a hard challenge in the 33rd minute, Castillo, who had just been taken out was put back in the game. And he didn’t miss a beat as he had the ball with space in the box on the right side and was able to curve in a shot around the diving arms of North Bend’s Dakota Gaul for a goal.
“He’s got that speed and pace that you don’t see at the high school level. Makes that great run and he’s got a little curve on that ball. Their keeper is a solid kid. He’s got good technique, he’s a great keeper and to have that dip in under, that’s the goal you want,” said Jones.
In the start of the second half, the game swung North Bend’s way as the Bulldogs went on the attack. Able to temporarily get through Marshfield’s backline, North Bend put together meaningful possessions for the first time all game. The Bulldogs were rewarded in the form of a Marshfield own goal to put the team now just a goal back.
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But then the Pirates roared back to life. “We were like alright, we’re done playing around boys, we really got to get back into the game,” said Casas.
A minute later Marshfield’s David Flores was fouled in the box by North Bend’s Ethan George to set up another Casas penalty score, his third in the first two games of the season. George’s foul, initially a red card, was downgraded to a yellow after the referee discussion with both coaching staffs.
Helping see the game to its finish was the lockdown ability of Marshfield’s backline consisting of Gage Hammond, Austin Neilsen, Bryan Osorio and Alex Hernandez. The group played the entire 80 minutes and was able to limit North Bend's chances and help out their freshman goalie Daniel Garcia.
“To have a high school game to play that smooth and have four guys that don’t get a sub, I mean, that’s pretty impressive," said Jones. "I can’t say there is a game in my four years where that was the case. Hats off to them.”
While the Pirates, who now have back-to-back Civil War victories, move to 2-0 on the season, it was the first contest of the year for the Bulldogs. And head coach Kirk Wicks, for the most part, liked what he saw from his team.
“This was a nice test especially being at Marshfield. I think we came away with a lot more positives than negatives,” said Wicks. “Overall, they got two PKs on us and otherwise it’s a 1-1 game. And our miscommunication, the other goal was just a miscommunication with the defense. ... So hopefully by the end of the season what you saw here won’t be happening.”
With league play in the future — for North Bend it starts on Sept. 14 and for Marshfield on Sept. 24 — both teams have a busy stretch of games. The Bulldogs play again Thursday against Corvallis before taking on Cascade on Saturday. Next Tuesday (Sept. 10) they host Central and have Junction City on the road on that Thursday (Sept. 12).
Starting next Tuesday Marshfield will play three road contests in six days with games against Churchill (Sept. 10), Phoenix (Sept. 12) and Astoria (Sept. 14 at Newport High School, a neutral site about halfway between the two schools).