By Phil Albert
Special to The Daily
Evan Scott put on a soccer clinic with five goals as visiting Hardaway trounced Forest Park, 7-0, in second-round action of the State AAAA boys soccer tournament Wednesday evening at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
The junior used his 4.4-second speed to full advantage, outpacing the Forest Park defense and dominating the contest.
"We knew how good he was," Forest Park coach Ken Walkington said. "It wasn't our game. We tried to do the same things as we did against Westside in our first playoff game, but we couldn't do it."
Trying to stop Scott would have been difficult anyway, and Walkington was hoping to control the midfield offensively.
"We wanted to break down the sidelines to open up the midfield and expose them," the coach added. "We didn't do it. The only way to beat a team like Hardaway would have been to do a lot of one-touch, quick passes. We tried to run and put pressure on them, but that set them up with quick counter-attacks."
Forest Park couldn't force mistakes by Hardaway. The visitors controlled the midfield and used booming passes to set up Scott with scoring chances. He simply outran the Panthers, exposing Clark and the Panther net.
"We didn't trap enough and force the mistakes," Walkington mentioned.
Junior Alex Pabon and senior David Burke added one goal each and Scott scored three against starting Panther goalkeeper Jamarco Clark before a goalkeeping change was made with 16:48 remaining. Scott then added two more, including a nicely-played shot after a throw-in with 5:18 remaining in the game for the final goal.
Scoring chances were minimal for the Panthers as most shots went wide. A free kick by midfielder Andres Morales with just 45 seconds remaining in the game produced a genuine save as senior goalkeeper Patrick Fairchild caught the ball for the Columbus-area team.
Forest Park (12-3) finished 9-1 in winning Region 4-AAAA and then defeated Westside in the first round, setting up the Sweet 16 meeting with Hardaway.
Hardaway (12-3) advances to the Elite 8 against McIntosh.