Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
LAYTON — The Weber Warriors kicked off region play with a 2-1 victory over Layton on Tuesday to remain unbeaten since their loss to Roy in the first game of the season.
The Warriors ultimately won the battle in the first half, scoring twice for a 2-0 halftime advantage. Although Layton snagged a goal in the 77th minute, the Lancers were unable to overcome the early deficit.
The contest marked the first region game for both teams and the competitiveness was a testament to the tough nature of Region 1.
"It's always a dogfight," Weber head coach Jan Swift said of the region. "It comes down to who can make it out with the least injuries."
The match seemed to be fairly even early on and the lack of calls resulted in a physical battle. Intensity was high on both ends and it came down to which team could put the ball into the net.
The second Weber goal was earned in the 37th minute when Taylor Kunz outraced his defender and chipped it up directly in front of the net from the right goal line. Bryce Child capitalized on the fortunate placement and knocked it in for the 2-0 advantage.
The Lancers had their chances but struggled to find a chink in the armor. Johnathan Rodriguez displayed exceptional speed up front, splitting two defenders and sending it just wide of the net. Another opportunity came moments later when Christian Love threaded the needle and sent in a close call with his left foot. Weber goalkeeper Joe Wheelright made a diving save.
On his next attempt, Love hit the crossbar, still unable to finish despite valiant efforts.
Wheelright was near perfect in the net for Weber and teammate Zach Barker's defensive speed helped to spoil several other Lancer chances.
Weber carried the momentum into the second half as it worked it around and opened things up with the long ball. In the latter part of the half, Layton's Ryan Reedy encouraged his teammates, shouting, "Come on, we want this game!"
The Lancers displayed additional intensity that led to an eventual goal in the 77th minute.
Love and Chandler Young both won crucial ball possessions and a Weber foul granted Layton a free kick from the midfield. Jordan Steed lined up and launched it inside the 18-yard box. Trevor Obray leapt into the air and completed the play with a header, knocking in the ball to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Other than that final goal and a few good looks, the Lancers were unable to break down the tough Warrior defense.
"We're just not clicking right now," Obray said. "We have potential to be good up top but we're not there yet."
Weber's Dixon Parker was pleased with the win and believes that the Warriors have what it takes to reach the top.
"I would say that out all the years I've played high school soccer, since I was a freshman, we have the greatest chance of going to state this year."
Swift is happy about the state of the Warriors heading into region play. "They're disciplined and focused," he said. "It's a pleasure to coach them."
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