TOWNSHEND -- If you’ve ever played Pac-Man, you know that you have to keep an eye out for Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clide.
It was four other ghosts -- or Phantoms -- that threatened often during the Proctor boys soccer team’s 2-0 victory over Leland & Gray on Thursday afternoon.
"They outplayed us, outshot us and outcoached us...everything you need to do to win," said Leland & Gray coach Chris Barton. "We weren’t ready to play. I don’t want to make excuses."
The visitors dominated the first 40 minutes of action, as they won 50/50 balls, stayed on the offensive, and had the only quality chances.
"In the first half, we were just sitting back and watching," added Barton. "We were never able to get into a rhythm."
Meanwhile, four Phantoms were putting on a show -- as if their coaches were controlling them with a joystick.
Dan Smith was robbed when Leland & Gray keeper Tanner Karg dove to his right for a highlight save. Chris Clain attacked up the gut and pushed his shot wide left. And midway through the first half, Proctor took a 1-0 lead on a beautiful give-and-go -- Dermot Hughes dribbled up the middle and dished left to Curtis Tomlinson, who got it back to Hughes in front for the burial.
Hughes, a talented center middy, spent a lot of time blocking clears to keep the ball in the Rebels’ zone. And when it did get by him, stopper Cody Landon usually made the needed play.
Just before the break, Leland & Gray’s Corey Nystrom chased a lead pass into the corner and was given a yellow card after making contact with Clain.
"What did he do wrong?" asked Barton repeatedly as the referee walked over to him.
Barton’s next words were directed at his players as they gathered around during the intermission. It’s possible that he reminded them that a victory would lock up the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Division 3 Tournament.
And it seemed as though midfielder Billy Nupp was listening. Early in the second half, he cleared the ball out of trouble, fed in a couple of corner passes and put a free kick over Proctor’s three-man wall.
Zach Wilkins also got the message, as the defender swiped the ball away a couple of times and did his best to keep the pressure off of Karg.
But those four Phantoms kept coming. With 23:24 remaining, Tomlinson added the insurance goal. Hughes started it by bending a free kick into Smith, who was denied before Tomlinson cleaned up the rebound.
Proctor goalie Reid Farley would hold on for the shutout, thanks to a header from Jacob Sherman that was just off the mark and an attempt from Michael Bergeron that missed high.
It was Senior Day for the Rebels. Twelfth graders Michael Bergeron, Daniel Burdick, Aidan Coleman, Chayse Jarvis, Tanner Karg, Billy Nupp, Andrew Parsons, Tyler Scott, Zach Wilkins and Kevin Ke were all honored prior to the match.
The 10-3 Rebels will play at Windsor today at 4 p.m. With a victory, Barton believes his team will lock up the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.