RENO - With several key Douglas boys soccer players injured or sick before Wednesday's game at Galena, the Tigers quest to stay unbeaten seemed doubtful. But Robby Honer, who was battling the flu, did all he could to ensure a victory by scoring two goals and assisting on two others as Douglas remained undefeated with a convincing 5-3 win over Galena.
"It's not a big deal that we haven't lost yet," Douglas coach Phillip Sheridan said. "I just want to keep playing good soccer every game."
The Tigers next three games should be one of their toughest stretches of the season. They host McQueen on Saturday and Carson next Tuesday. Then they go on the road to face Reno the following Saturday. Sheridan said those games should give him a better indication of how good his team really is.
"They are playing a lot better right now that I thought they would coming into the season," Sheridan said. "We're getting our stuff together but we still have a long way to go."
On Wednesday, Galena caught the Douglas defense napping when Kevin Clement scored off an assist from Christian Walker in the first minute of the game to take a 1-0 lead.
But the Tigers tied the game minutes later when Bryant Bradley found his way through a Galena off sides trap and then placed his shot in the upper corner of the net. Later in the first half, Douglas again broke through Galena's off sides trap. But this time it was Honer, who after assisting on Bryant's goal, slotted home a goal of his own as Douglas led 2-1 at half-time.
"You gotta take what they give you," Sheridan said. "You live and die by the off sides trap and today it didn't work out for them."
In the second half, Sheridan thought Galena would forget about the off sides trap and go back to a normal defensive formation. But it didn't happen and Douglas continued to get break aways. 10 minutes into the half, Chris Bargan made it 3-1 after Gieorag Andrews made a very unselfish pass in the penalty box, when he easily could've scored himself.
"That was one of the best assists I've seen," Sheridan said. "We've been working all week on unselfish play and assists in the box."
In the 65th minute, Honer ran right through another Grizzly off sides trap and put away his second goal of the game to give Douglas a 4-1 lead.
After Honer's goal, Sheridan substituted some of his starters because he wanted to rest them for Saturday's game against McQueen.
"I have three players that were sick and one that was injured," said Sheridan, who mentioned that Josh Pratt didn't play much because of a pulled groin. "I felt we were far enough ahead that I could rest them."
Then Galena made it interesting after Mike Weiland's penalty kick brought the Grizzlies to within 4-2. But Bargan scored on another break away off a through ball from Honer that gave the Tigers a three-goal cushion at 5-2. Galena's Dan Carew scored off a corner kick by Austin Evarts with under five minutes left in the game to finish the scoring at 5-3.
"Galena is definitely a step up from Fallon and Elko," Sheridan said. "But they didn't really have any quality shots on goal besides the ones that they scored.
"It was pretty stuff out there even though we couldn't play the possession game that we wanted to," Sheridan said of Galena's off sides trap. "But I think it's important that we can adjust to what the other team is doing."