The Thomson High School Bulldogs rolled to a 4-2 victory over the Jefferson County Warriors in the first game of the soccer season at The Brickyard in Thomson on Monday night.
The Bulldogs were led in scoring by junior forward Jay Bieltz, who tallied three goals. Teammate Pop Chambliss, a senior, scored Thomson's other goal.
"I was pretty well pleased with the team's overall performance," remarked Thomson Head Coach Barry Arrington, who is being assisted this year by his nephew, Tony Arrington. "I thought we played an outstanding defensive game. We've still got to work more on our offensive play, though."
Coach Arrington praised the unselfish play of Bieltz on offense, saying that was something he had been working with him on during practice and that it apparently had gotten over to one of his star players.
"I was proud of his unselfish play out there," Coach Arrington said. "I've told him that if continues to play with an unselfish attitude that he will end up scoring even more goals."
Bieltz demonstrated that kind of play all night long. On several occasions, he tried to work the ball to teammates in order that they might get an opportunity to score.
Bieltz, who has played soccer at Thomson High School for the past three seasons, praised the team's defensive effort.
"We played really good, defensively," Bieltz said.
Cullen Wallace, a sophomore defensive player, said, "It's always nice to win the season opener at home. I'm real excited about the season."
Chambliss, meanwhile, said, "I think we did well offensively and defensively, although I we need to tighten up a little on some offensive things."
Mat Neal, a senior defensive player, added, "It felt great to start the season off with a win. We all communicated well and played as a team."
Bietlz wasted no time at all showing how eager he was that the soccer season had begun, as he took the ball downfield and attempted a shot right from the start. Less than four minutes into the game, he attempted another shot and failed. He eventually got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with their first goal of the game. It came on a penalty kick.
With 21:40 remaining in first half action, Bieltz gave Thomson a 2-0 lead with another successful goal.
Less than five minutes into the second half, the Warriors scored against Thomson, making it a 2-1 game. Jefferson County would have gone on to tie the game a little later had it not been for the outstanding defensive play of Thomson senior goalie Michael Thompson, who not only came up big then, but in several instances during the game.
Bieltz later scored his third goal of the game to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. The goal came with just 14:58 remaining in the game.
Chambliss scored Thomson's last goal of the game thanks to a nice pass from Bieltz. The Warriors answered with another goal late, but by that time the Bulldogs had the game sewed up.
A number of Thomson players turned in outstanding defensive performances. They included Anthoney Brown, Josh Wright, Dalton Herrington, Marc Ricketson, Mat Neal, Cody Atkins, Justin Bettross, Jorge Rosales, Ronney Gant, Alex Quarles and Kumar Howard.
Thomson was scheduled to have played the Lincoln County Red Devils on Tuesday night. This Friday, the Bulldogs will travel to South Augusta to play the Cross Creek Razorbacks.