By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — It was the best of the North and the best of the South on the soccer field Monday night, as the two conference leaders met at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Reilly Cross ensured the hometown North would win the Wesco Civil War, netting a hat trick to help Snohomish defeat Jackson 4-2 in a Wesco 4A crossover game.
“Reilly’s a good player,” said Snohomish head coach Dan Pingrey. “Tonight he was on.”
Cross gave Snohomish the first lead of the game in the 20th minute. Connor Nutt, who tallied the assist — his first of two during the game — crossed the ball in and Cross put it into the lower right corner of the goal.
Brendon Wheeler scored the game’s second goal, 14 minutes later, on a penalty kick, that Cross had a hand in developing. The kick was awarded after Cross was tackled in the penalty box by a Jackson defender trying to make a play on the ball. The Timberwolves’ keeper had charged another Snohomish forward, who passed the ball over to Cross.
“We’ve got a lot of crafty, active players,” Pingrey said. “As a result of that, you can’t just focus on Reilly.”
Cross added two goals in three minutes in the second half to give Snohomish a 4-0 lead. The first, was shot from about 22 yards out that found the top far corner of the goal. Three minutes later — in the 49th minute — another pass from Nutt went to Cross and he completed the hat trick.
Going into the game, Pingrey told the Panthers to focus on their game and not worry too much about the team on the other sideline.
“Our focus is just on us and what we do,” Pingrey said. “Cause I think we’re good. We know they’re gonna be solid. We anticipated a battle.”
Snohomish (6-0 league, 7-0 overall) was seeing its first official action since last Thursday. After a tough week, Pingrey gave his team a long weekend off. The Panthers’ coach thought his team could use a break, but admitted that the layoff left his team “a little rusty” at the start of the game.
“We shook the rust off,” Pingrey said. “The good thing was everybody got to play. Everybody got to shake the rust off.”
Jackson (4-1, 5-2) came into the game undefeated in league play and atop the Wesco South standings — and left the game tied for the same position with Mariner, which defeated Lake Stevens 3-1. The Timberwolves had a hard time getting past Snohomish’s strong defensive line, particularly senior center backs Wheeler and Lukas Martinson.
“The backline, our juniors and seniors, they’re experienced,” Pingrey said. “They’re confident. They trust each other.”
The Timberwolves got two late goals by junior Brady Witsoe in the 69th and 78th minutes. The goals came on backup goalkeeper Luke Riske, who replaced starter Brenden George in the 64th minute. Pingrey subbed all of his players into the game.
Despite the strong performance against a top local team, Pingrey isn’t allowing his team to read too much into the victory. He wants the Panthers to continue to work hard in practice if they want to be an elite team, and continue to be ranked No. 1 in the state.
“We’re going to celebrate tonight and then focus on Wednesday (a home game against Edmonds-Woodway),” Pingrey said. “We’re trying not to get too excited on what might be and just focus on us.”
At Veteran’s Memorial Stadium
Goals–Reilly Cross (S) 3, Brendon Wheeler (S) 1, Brady Witsoe (J) 2. Assists–Connor Nutt (S) 2. Goalkeepers–Jackson: Armando Huerta. Snohomish: Brenden George, Luke Riske. Records–Jackson 4-1 league, 5-2 overall. Snohomish 6-0, 7-0.