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Prep boys soccer: Second-half onslaught lifts Layton past Northridge in Region 1 opener

SHARE Prep boys soccer: Second-half onslaught lifts Layton past Northridge in Region 1 opener

LAYTON — Once the scoreless door was finally knocked down, the Lancers came charging through it.

Layton High kept plenty of pressure on neighboring Region 1 rival Northridge throughout the first half of the two teams' boys soccer league opener Tuesday. But, thanks to several stellar saves by Knights goalkeeper Zach Nielson, the Lancers found themselves in a scoreless deadlock at halftime.

But in the second half, the floodgates opened as that relentless pressure led to three Layton goals in a quick seven-minute span, paving the way for the Lancers' eventual 4-1 road victory at The Ridge.

"I thought it was just a matter of time," Layton coach Rick Talamantez said of his team's impressive second-half scoring onslaught. "I'll be very honest — their goalkeeper (Nielson) keeps them in games. He's a fantastic goalkeeper, and I've enjoyed watching him. I give him a lot of credit for keeping the score lower than what it should be.

"We were just biding our time, being patient, moving the ball, not trying to get away from our style of play. Then once we got that first goal, things started rolling for us. The confidence went up high, the intensity level increased and the boys were excited."

Sophomores Kaden Amano and Easton Embley each got their head on the ball for Layton's first goal that broke the scoring ice in the 46th minute.

"It was kinda weird because Kaden and I both headed it," Embley said. "It deflected off both of us and went in."

Then little more than five minutes later, senior Davis Walker headed a shot into the net to cap a series of back-to-back-to-back corner kicks for the Lancers. Walker soon took a crossing pass and headed it in again for another goal in the 53rd minute that quickly made it 3-0.

"I just went for it and luckily it got through and I put it in," Walker said of his first goal. "The defender thought I was going far post; I faked him and he went for it and stepped forward, and it gave me the opening I needed.

"Persistence paid off for us today. Getting that first (goal) helps, then everything will come through."

Stevie Cannavina got Northridge on the board, preventing Layton from getting the shutout, when he bounced a hard shot past the Lancers' 'keeper, Isaac Hunter, in the 69th minute. But that was it scoring-wise for the Knights (3-2 overall), who had piled up 13 goals through their first four games.

Embley added another late goal as Layton improved to 3-1 overall on the young season and bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Murray in its previous game.

Coach Talamantez, whose team lost in last year's semifinals of the 5A state tournament, had plenty of praise for his own 'keeper.

"He's a fantastic goalkeeper, too," he said of Hunter. "He's definitely our backbone. He leads from the back line, he makes big saves, and we're a confident team with him back in our box."

Talamantez likes the way this year's Layton team is coming together.

"These young guys are doing what we're asking of them," he said, commending his squad for "playing it simple, connecting the passes, working off of each other and just being as positive as we can with each other. And that's what we're doing.

"These guys act like a family, they work together and they play for one another. They love each other on and off the field. These guys are always doing something together, and I think that makes a difference.

"Ultimately, they're having fun; and if they're not having fun, why are we doing this?" the Lancers coach said. "These guys are having a good time."

His players agreed.

"Outside of practice, we're always with each other," Amano said. "We have great camaraderie."

"I think everybody's pretty solid — one through 18, we're all pretty solid," said Embley. "And we're always trying to be together and doing team bonding and stuff like that."

Walker likes his team's chances at having another successful season.

"I think we're solid, we're young but solid, too," he said. "I think we should do pretty well this season and hopefully go to state — that's our goal this year."

If the second half of Tuesday's game is any indication, that should be no problem at all for these Lancers.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com