Big Rapids soccer team too much for Reed City

Reed City's Ethan Maddox works with the ball.
Reed City's Ethan Maddox works with the ball.

BIG RAPIDS — The offense was in high gear for Big Rapids boys’ soccer team on Wednesday.

The Cardinals built a 4-1 first-half lead and scored five unanswered goals in the second half for a 9-1 Central State Activities Association win over Reed City.

It was the CSAA opener for both teams.

Mason Gifford’s five-goal performance sparked the Big Rapids effort.

“I really liked our reaction in the second half,” said Big Rapids coach Justin Fox. “The first half, I think we started off a little bit too patient and cautious, even though I had been preaching possession, and in doing that we just didn’t have a lot of fire. I want them to take the possession but wanted them to have some intensity.”

Gifford scored at 37:26, 27:58 and 24:12 of the first half for a 3-0 Cardinal lead. Ethan Maddox scored on a breakaway at 19:32 for Reed City, and the Coyotes were dominating the play for several minutes late in the half.

But the Cardinals made it 4-1 on a key goal by Lance Strpko with 33 seconds left in the half. It was all Big Rapids in the second half with David McInnis, James Hundersmark and Gifford scoring three goals in the first 12 minutes. Gifford scored at 19:44 and Connor McAdams at 14:39 to enforce the eight-goal mercy rule.

“Reed City certainly didn’t make it easy for us,” Fox said. “They put forth 100 percent effort, especially pressuring us on defense and getting the goal in. I think we were reeling from their goal in the first half, but regrouping and getting ourselves organized. We discussed at halftime playing the ball quicker and being more intentional with our passing.”

Jackson Lund started in the net and Connor Kinnally came in after 15 minutes for Big Rapids.

“I needed to give both some time,” Fox said. “Lund played a hard 80 minutes on Monday. We got him out there a little bit. I wanted to give Kinnally some reps.”

The Cardinals are 3-2 after five games.

“I do like what I see,” Fox said. “We have plenty of room to grow. We’re still forming together as a team. We’re headed in the right direction.”

“I liked it when it was 3-1,” Reed city coach Doug Emington said. “I felt that the goals they got were not good goals. We gave up some goals by not getting back behind the ball. We’ve talked about that over and over. We’ve got to get behind the ball.”

Sophomore Gregory Randall was goalkeeper in the first half and freshman Jordan Lofquist in the second half.