JOHNSTOWN - In an effort to keep things close, the Johnstown boys soccer team went on the defensive for Tuesday night's Foothills Council game against Broadalbin-Perth.
The Sir Bills packed in their defense in an effort to keep the defending state Class B champion Patriots' offense in check.
Despite having to work their way through extra defense, Broadalbin-Perth scored 1:30 into the game on its way to a 5-0 win over Johnstown.
Broadalbin-Perth Conner Phillips, left, and Jake Rasmussen (11) battle Johnstown’s Jon Heroth (18) during a corner kick during Tuesday’s Foothills Council game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
"We had great composure and took our time tonight," Broadalbin-Perth coach Brian Henry said. "We didn't get frustrated and we had all the time in the world to move the ball."
The quick goal put the Sir Bills on their heels and the Patriots kept them there, not allowing a shot in the game.
"We were unlucky that they scored so quickly," Johnstown coach Mike Hill said. "That changed the complexion of the game. Our guys started hanging their heads and it made it tough for us."
Mark Sylvia scored the game's first goal, giving the Patriots an early 1-0 advantage.
From there, Johnstown all but abandoned any attempt at an offensive push as B-P controlled the ball throughout as it extended its unbeaten streak to 27 games.
"We did well," Henry said. "We had the ball in the offensive half for the majority of the time."
The Patriots piled up six corner kicks and outshot Johnstown 6-0 in the first half, but were unable to add to their lead until the final 10 minutes of the first half.
"If we play them straight up, it would be 14 or 15-0," Hill said. "We're just doing what we have to do to try to be competitive."
Tucker Wilcox finally broke through with 9:15 left in the opening half on an assist from Anthony Payne to send B-P into the break with a 2-0 advantage.
Johnstown, which used a similar strategy to take South Glens Falls into overtime before losing last Friday, stayed its defensive course in the second half.
"We played South Glens Falls tough on Friday," Hill said. "It's hard to come back and play a team as good as Broadalbin-Perth in your next game."
The Sir Bills had few ventures into the Patriots' end of the field and none of those trips produced any offensive chances.
"We closed the space quickly when they tried to counterattack," Henry said.
As they did in the first half, the Patriots patiently picked away at the Sir Bills' defense, creating several chances for themselves.
"We picked our spots to put the ball on the frame and create shots," Henry said.
Wilcox scored his second of the game with 20:53 remaining on an assist from Conner Phillips before making it 4-0 when A.J. Klemczak scored on a Scott Everson assist with 15:46 to play.
Justin Marek closed out the scoring with 4:12 to play on Phillips' second assist of the night, ripping a hard shot from the right side into the net.
"The guys got a lot of touches tonight," Henry said. "Everybody touched the ball a lot tonight and that's good to see. We were very unselfish."
Pat Brown and Matt Myers went untested on their way to sharing the shutout win in goal for Broadalbin-Perth.
Andy Camarra made eight saves for Johnstown.
"I've got to give Broadalbin-Perth a lot of credit," Hill said. "They're the defending state champions for a reason. They've got a great team."
Johnstown (2-2 overall, 0-2 Foothills) will travel to Queensbury on Friday , while Broadalbin-Perth (4-0-1 overall, 2-0-1 Foothills) will travel to Glens Falls on Friday. Both games are scheduled for 4:15 p.m. starts.
"We play in a league with a lot of tough teams," Hill said. "We're trying to stick to a game plan in order to be competitive. Hopefully, it will only make us better and we can make a run in sectionals."