'Tale of Two Halves:' Frankfort, Keyser boys play to 1-1 tie

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Keyser's Seth Earnest celebrates after scoring against Frankfort on Thursday.

SHORT GAP - Perhaps it’s an overused sports expression, but sometimes, no better explanation fits than “It was a tale of two halves.”

After all there’s certainly no better way of describing the 1-1 tied result between Keyser and Frankfort in Short Gap Thursday. The first half belonged to Keyser. The second half belonged to Frankfort.

Keyser’s Seth Earnest scored the lone goal for the Golden Tornado, and he did it early in the first half. Frankfort’s Braxton Pyles scored the lone goal for the Falcons, and he dis it early in the second half.

As the two teams were now tied with roughly 38 minutes to go in the contest, Frankfort would unleash an offensive attack that threatened with regularity for the rest of the game, but nothing fell. Nothing fell in part to the tremendous effort displayed by Keyser goalie Matthew Junkins. Junkins, with the help of his defense, masterfully turned back shot after shot.

Frankfort’s freshman goalie Jake Layton, who has performed admirably in replacement for starting goalie Stephen Shambaugh who is out with an injury, did his part in limiting Keyser to the one goal as well.

When the final buzzer sounded after 80 minutes of play, and considering that there is typically not overtime played in regular season soccer games, there was no winner, and by contrast, there also was no loser.

If you’re Keyser, you see the early 1-0 advantage and think maybe you let one slip away. If you’re Frankfort, you look at the onslaught of offensive chances that followed the equalizing goal and you think maybe you let one slip away. Nobody left mad. Nobody left happy.

According to Keyser coach Chris Halbritter, “It’s the best game I’ve seen us play in awhile. Since last year when we lost to East Fairmont by one, it’s the best game I’ve seen us play since then. It could have went either way, I think Frankfort had more opportunities than us today, but I can’t express enough how well our defense played.”

“Matt Junkins in the goal was incredible. Frankfort kept pounding the goal and he kept making saves in the second half. Hunter Powell who is right in front of him, he saved our team several times on Frankfort’s opportunities,” Halbritter explained.

“I think our guys ran out of energy getting close to the end of the first half, and then they started out in the second half decent, but that didn’t last too long. As far as the ball being against our defense the whole second half, that’s just our midfield and offensive guys being tired and not being able to have the ball up there anymore,” Halbritter stated.

According to Frankfort coach Patrick Brett, “I thought we started very, very slowly, which of course, they got the hair dryer (talking to) at halftime for. We came out in the second half the way I wish we would have started the first one. I don’t think they hardly went into their offensive half in the second half, it was all down at one end.”

“But, we couldn’t finish. In the second half we just completely dominated. The problem I’ve got right now is that I have 11 fit starters, and that’s it. I’ve got 11 fit starters on the field, and I had probably six guys out tonight. The youngsters, I can’t keep asking them to step up every week against bug, physical teams like Keyser. You saw that they were just more physical than us in the game,” Brett explained.

“I thought in the second half we gave everything, we just didn’t take our chances when they came, and we had plenty of them. We probably had nine clear goal-scoring chances. If we would have took one of them, we would have won the game,” Brett stated.

With the tie, Frankfort goes to 2-2-2 on the season. With the tie, Keyser goes to 0-1-1 on the season.

Frankfort and Keyser are slated to next square off against each other on Sept. 28 in Keyser.