A second half adjustment to the Delta defense allowed the Swanton boys soccer team to score four second half goals and defeat the Panthers on their home field, 5-2, Thursday in NWOAL play.
Delta utilized their offside trap which is designed to give the opposing offense trouble staying onside. It was successful in the first half, but the Bulldogs made an adjustment in the second, which enabled them to overcome a 2-1 halftime deficit.
“They were playing 20 yards (from) the front line to the back line, so in the first half we were having a hard time getting through it,” said Swanton coach Rob Upham of their struggles early on. “We’d either play a ball that was too long or we would get caught offside. Then we just made an adjustment at the half and it ended up working out for us.”
Despite the loss, Delta mentor Charlie Franklin was pleased with his team’s play.
“We played pretty tough, this last half we kind of got broken down a little bit. But I think we stayed in it and fought well,” he said. “The score don’t show how we played.”
The Panthers struck first when Jared Gilders got to a loose ball and fired it past Swanton goalkeeper AJ Wolford to make it 1-0 at the 24:47 mark.
However, Swanton’s Trevor Schaller tied it just over seven minutes later on a nice play where he weaved past defenders on the left side and fired it into the back of the net.
“He is a solid player for us,” said Upham of Schaller. “Plays a bunch of minutes. He has been there all year for us – working hard. He finally just was able to find the back of the net tonight.”
Delta had more opportunities down the stretch and finally cashed in off the foot of Anthony Russell with 11:22 remaining in the first half. He was able to control the ball from about 10 yards away, set up his shot and fire a missile in the back of the net to give them the lead going into the break.
“We do an offside trap really good. And they didn’t (counter) that until the second half,” said Franklin of his team limiting the Bulldog offense in the first half. “But I think that helped us a lot.”
The Panthers’ Tyler McCullough had a chance to add to his team’s lead early in the second half, but his shot banged off the crossbar and was no good.
Schaller then got a pair of goals to put Swanton in front for good. The first came on a nice pass from Riley Hensley, and he later scored on an attempt from the left side which made it 3-2 with 19:56 left in the game.
Swanton’s Josh Adcock would score off a Nick Koback corner kick with 13:25 remaining, and also four minutes later with a header on Tanner Callicotte’s crossing pass.
Swanton is at Toledo Christian Tuesday at 5 p.m. Delta, who lost 4-3 on the road at Toledo Christian Saturday, is at Archbold on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010