Polk County Middle's Riley Ballentine makes a move against a Rugby defender

Polk Middle unleashes goal flurry to top Rugby

Polk County Middle spent the opening 20 minutes Tuesday chipping away at Rugby Middle’s defense.

Once the Wolverines finally broke through, a torrent of goals followed.

Polk tallied three times in a four-minute span late in the first half and kept on scoring in the second 30 minutes, rolling to an 8-1 win over the Raiders in a Blue Ridge Conference boys soccer match at Utz Field.

On a 65-degree mid-February afternoon felt like a gift, the Wolverines (3-2) celebrated most of the match in Rugby’s end of the field. The Raiders (0-4) kept Polk at bay for almost 20 minutes, but then the goals came quickly and often.

Eno Baker started that four-minute burst, taking a long pass, driving into the box and burying a low drive in the left corner of the net. Ezra Marlow followed two minutes later with another goal, dribbling through a series of Rugby defenders and deep into the penalty area before scoring. Two minutes later, Manny Albarran made it 3-0, finding free space at the back post on a corner kick and tapping a short drive into the net.

The scoring pace quickened in the second half, with goals coming at regular intervals. Baker scored again, racing past the Rugby defense to take a long pass from Albarran and slip a drive just inside the near post. Tanner Osborn followed, again on a pass from Albarran, before Albarran added his second goal of the day.

Brinson Ashworth joined the scoring in the 43rd minute, beating the Rugby keeper to a free ball in the box and flicking it past into the net. Polk goalkeeper Ian Stafford, who came off the field for a period and then returned out of goal, then capped the scoring with a booming drive that curled into the upper corner of the net.

Anderson’s goal made it 8-0 before a determined Rugby squad added a late tally for the final margin.

Polk Middle reaches the halfway point of its regular season in third place in the BRC’s East Division, a point behind Hendersonville (3-1-1) and four points behind Brevard Middle (4-0-1). The Wolverines’ scheduled match Wednesday at Apple Valley has been cancelled due to an Apple Valley quarantine, so Polk Middle will next be in action on Monday, hosting Hendersonville Middle in a key match.

Polk County Middle’s Brinson Ashworth scores the Wolverines’ seventh goal in the second half of Tuesday’s match