FHS Track & Field
DISTRICT CHAMPIONS! The Frankenmuth varsity soccer team rambled through the MHSAA Division 3 District, including winning the championship game over Birch Run, 5-0. The Eagles ran their record to 21-3-1 overall with the win. (Photo courtesy/Dawn Fischer)
Kickers hurdle Imlay City 6-3
There are only a few things that will make a soccer coach smile at this time of year, when all the pressure of the State Tournament can be overwhelming.
Early shots that find the net and light up your side of the scoreboard certainly bring a smile. Frankenmuth Coach John Ayala had to be beaming in Williamston on Tuesday, Oct. 23, when right off the opening tap of the Regional game against Imlay City, Frankenmuth's Matt Hinds made a through pass to Jimmy Johnson who scored the opening goal with only ten seconds gone in the contest.
That's right, a 1-0 lead at the 39:50 mark of the opening half. The Frankenmuth fans erupted with cheers while the Imlay City team and their fans were stunned. The Eagles were not content to sit on their lead and continued their relentless
attack in the third minute of the game when Hinds broke free and dribbled all the way in to the goal box and beat the Spartan keeper for a huge 2-0 advantage with less than three minutes gone.
In the ninth minute Adam Bookmyer crossed a nice ball into the box that found the foot of Johnson who scored his second goal of the game for a 3-0 Eagle lead.
At that point both Head Coach John Ayala and his assistant coach Andrew Ayala were
smiling, but there was a lot of soccer to be played.
One thing that will take the smiles away and make any coach scowl is a penalty kick. With 22:20 to go in the first half Frankenmuth defender DJ Bonkowski tackle the Imlay City striker in the goal box area giving the Spartans a P.K., which is a one-on-one chance, kicker against keeper, from eight paces out. The Imlay City player nailed the shot past a valiant effort by Eagle goalie Brennan Zimmer and the score stood at 3-1.
Although the Eagles continued to dominate
possession the remainder of the half, there was no more scoring in the half by either team.
Imlay City opened the second half with the first touch, but Frankenmuth stole the possession and made some more people smile as Hinds again sent a ball through to Johnson who collected it and scored for his second "hat trick" of the playoffs and a hugely important 4-1 lead.
Although the forecast had looked ominous, there had been no rain for this game, but it continued to look threatening so a solid lead was important.
Despite being caught off guard in the opening minute of both halves, the Spartans did not give up. Two minutes after Johnson scored, Imlay City made a break away and got a player with the ball behind all the Eagle defenders and
beat Zimmer 1-on-1 to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Good teams respond and at the 46:40 mark of the game Bookmyer dropped a nice pass to Hinds who scored his second goal of the night to go along with his two assists. Fourteen minutes
later Bookmyer earned his third assist of the game as he attacked the goal and slipped a pass to Frank McKensie who tapped it in from point blank range for a 6-2 lead.
Imlay City managed another score with just six minutes left in the game on a nice diagonal cut by their top scorer who finally got on the stat sheet, but it was too little too late and Frankenmuth moves on to the Regional Final against Williamston on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7pm on Williamston's home field. Williamston advanced with a 3-2 victory over Freeland. The Eagles are now 22-3-1 and are one of only eight teams that remain in the Division 3 State Tournament and the only team from the
Saginaw/Midland/Bay City area that is still alive in the tournament.