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Patriots rally past Cougars

By Staff | Oct 24, 2016

Photos by David Pennock

Kyle Rodriguez works on taking long, lofting free kicks with the idea of putting the ball on someone’s forehead near the goal box.

It’s even better when the ball sails into the net.

It turned out majestic for Washington when Rodriguez took a direct kick of some 55 yards that went into the goal to give the Patriots a 4-3 victory over Jefferson in a key showdown for the top seed for next week’s sectional play.

“Sometimes it’s the right distance,” Rodriguez said of the shot that completed a three-goal spree for the Patriots.

Washington, playing frenetically in the second half after seeing its 2-1 deficit go to 3-1 in the second half, ended Jefferson’s 11-game winning streak and just might’ve secured the home-field advantage for the sectional among Hampshire, Jefferson and Washington.

That decision is expected to come this afternoon during a meeting of athletic directors.

“The first half, we were backing off after we got the easy first goal, when we should’ve kept going,” Rodriguez said. “The second half, we had more energy and tried to win the game after being down.”

Stone Sanders gave Washington (13-4-1) a 1-0 lead barely into the sixth minute when he took a ball near the goal mouth.

Thirteen minutes later, Teo Garces tucked in a shot on a cross from Ryan King. Garces’ looping pass to an onrushing Lonnie Briggs accounted for Jefferson’s second goal.

The lead went to 3-1 in the fourth minute of the second half when Garces tracked down a ball and chipped it into the net.

Then Washington asserted itself in an end-to-end half that saw the Patriots attempt 11 shots and manage six corner kicks to Jefferson’s four shots and four corners. Washington outshot Jefferson 15-9 overall.

“The first half, we came out on our heels,” Washington coach Matt Robins said. “The second half, we seemed to put it together.

“The game started to shift when Daniel Pedraza scored. He put the guys on his back.”

Pedraza moved Washington to within one goal with a nifty move on the inside to free himself near the goal mouth.

Then he blasted in a rebound to tie the game.

Rodriguez finished off the scoring outburst with 14 minutes remaining.

“We’ve got some things to work on,” Jefferson coach Chris Steffey said. “We got to be able to close things out when we get up two goals. They kept lofting balls in the air, and we didn’t handle them very well.

“We had opportunities in the second half. We kind of flubbed them.”