Soccer Dawgs upend Morton in debuts for 22-23 season

by Staff Report

Franklin County’s varsity soccer programs started their respective 2022-2023 regular seasons with a strong showing on Saturday, Oct. 29 against visiting Morton High School in the Ben Yarbrough Classic.

The Lady Bulldogs blanked Morton by a 3-0 margin while the FC boys’ program earned a 3-2 victory over the Panthers.


Franklin County saw a total team effort in its victory over Morton this past weekend, according to Head Coach Jeff Long.

“This was about as well as we have ever played on an ‘opening day’ of the season,” Long said. “We were solid in every aspect of the game and I was extremely pleased with our effort and intensity. When you combine that with execution, you will usually get good results. I didn’t see a weakness as everyone did their job.”

Senior midfielder Karlee Wallace scored first for Franklin County during the 14th minute when she fought to win a ball inside the box and drilled a shot to the lower “near post” for a 1-0 lead.

In the 34th minute, senior midfielder Kaitlyn Fussell received a through ball and sprinted past the Lady Panthers’ defense. Fussell sent a hard shot, which was blocked by the Morton goalkeeper.

From there, freshman forward Gre’yonne Queen was in position for the follow, which pushed the Franklin County lead to 2-0.

A physical second half saw the Lady Dawgs’ defense shut down all Lady Panthers’ attacks after the mid-game break.

“Addison Cooper, Amberly Wallace, Ken’niya McGowan, Braxton Martin and Meg Kelly played with tremendous energy — maintaining perfect shape — as the ball rarely crossed midfield,” Long noted.

“The midfield play of Karlee Wallace, Fussell, Lilly Hutto, Carmon Coleman and Marlee Tindle was solid as well, each making offensive and defensive contributions throughout the game.”

Karlee Wallace, who finished with a team-high six shots with three shots on goal, solidified the win with a free kick from 30 yards out that made its way into the upper left corner of the net to help the Lady Bulldogs take the 3-0 victory.

Brooklynn Cupit finished with three shots and two shots on goal while Fussell (who was credited with an assist) and Queen had two shots and one SOG apiece with Hutto recording a shot and SOG while Edniya Gordon had a single shot.

Defensively, Karlee Wallace led the Lady Dawgs with nine steals while McGowan and Cooper accounted for eight each. Hutto collected seven steals while Amberly Wallace and Martin each had six and Cupit and Coleman finished with five apiece.

Others with steals included: Fussell, 4; Tindle, 3; Kelly, 3; Gordon, 2; Kendra Jones, 2; and Queen, 1.
In goal, FC’s Katherine Romero had four saves en route to the shut-out victory.

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Franklin County’s Soccer Dawgs slipped past a talented Morton squad, 3-2, by taking the early advantage thanks to a successful goal that came less than a minute into the affair.

“This was a good win for the boys,” Long said. “Morton was talented and well coached and we were fortunate that we took advantage of the few chances we had.

“Our defensive effort really was the difference in the game. I thought we played extremely hard with a lot of energy.”

Landon Furlow connected on a volley from 15 yards out just 45 seconds after play began to help give FC a 1-0 lead.

Junior midfielder Mason Emfinger scored on a follow-up header thanks to a Furlow first-half shot.

Despite trailing 2-0 at intermission, the Panthers possesed the ball for much of the game, and managed to get off 15 shots on goal throughout the affair.

Sophomore goalkeeper Dakota Chisholm stymied most of those shots while collecting a total of 13 saves.

In the second half, Morton’s offense battled against a solid FC defense.

“Zachary Kent, Preston Cupit, Chris Carraway and Drew Mullins had a busy afternoon against a strong Panthers’ attack,” Long said. “Midfielders Kolby Cox and Terrance Fields continued to shut down the middle of the field.”

On a rare counter-attack for the Dawgs, sophomore midfielder Xavien Felton wound up being fouled in the box with Furlow converting on the penalty kick for a 3-1 lead.

Morton connected on a long, well-placed shot just before the contest ended to set the game’s final margin.

Furlow, who was credited with an assist, accounted for four total shots in the outing against the Panthers with two shots on goal.

Emfinger had a single shot and SOG in the victory, and Felton had a shot and earned an assist.

FC’s Jamari Tolliver and Cox finished the day with two shots and one shot, respectively.

Zachary Kent also had a single shot offensively for the home team.

Against Morton, Kent picked up where he left off last season as one of the Dawgs’ top defenders in pacing his team with nine steals with Terrence Fields adding eight and Preston Cupit, Emfinger and Cox tacking on six take-aways apiece.

FC defenders with steals also included: Carraway, 6; Mullins, 6; Furlow, 5; Felton, 5; Tolliver, 4; Parker Jordan, 2; Jack Hutto, 1; Mason Orr, 1; Max Turner, 1; Parker Cupit, 1;

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The 1-0 FC soccer programs are slated to return to action against Lawrence County on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at home with junior varsity play set to begin at 4 p.m., and varsity action to start around 6 p.m.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Soccer Dawgs will host North Pike with JV girls to take the field at 4 p.m., and varsity to follow around 5 p.m.

The squads are slated to travel on Monday, Nov. 14 to face Morton at 5:30 and 7 p.m., for the girls and boys’ varsity teams, respectively.

The programs will play at Lawrence County on Thursday, Nov. 17 with all JV and varsity teams playing in four contests set to begin at 4 p.m.