SHAWNEE – A bit of a fluke goal by Choctaw 61 seconds into the game gave the Yellowjackets an early lead but Shawnee fought back in the second half for a 3-1 win Tuesday at home.
The second half effort was something Shawnee coach Jason Merrell didn't see much from his guys last season, so it was nice to see them give so much Tuesday.
“We've been focusing on coming out and playing a full 80 minutes and finishing stong in the second half and we were able to do that tonight,” he said.
The Choctaw goal was the only one of the first half, but it wasn't from a lack of trying on Shawnee's part.
The Wolves made seven shots on goal before the break with three coming from Josh Floyd on the right side of the goal but unable to find the net. Seth King nearly scored with 14:37 left in the half and Kossi Kodoe had his shot with 11:01 remaning to no avail.
Kodoe had a chance early into the second half but it was King who finally ended Shawnee's scoring drought 6:50 into the second half to tie up at 1. Floyd followed with a goal of his own with 30:21 left on an assist from Tommy Leach to take the Wolves' first lead of the game.
Kodoe added another with 17:31 to play as he squeezed a shot by the Choctaw goalkeeper just as he went to snag the ball.
Floyd had eight shots on goal, King had five and Kodoe had four. Shawnee goalkeeper Tristaan Haddad had an easy night with one save on only three shots, none of which occurred in the second half.
Merrell was happy with the way that his defenders played as well. Keeping the ball up the field was a big advantage.
“They did a really good job of keeping the ball in front of them,” he said.
The Wolves will face harder competition in Class 6A this year as the season goes on. Merrell has been working with his kids where he can though and feels good about their progress.
“We work hard. We've been pushing hard since August and it's paying off,” he said. “I think our kids are invested … we look forward to just keep getting stronger and keep getting better and facing tougher competition.”
Shawnee will host McAlester Friday at 8 p.m. The Wolves beat McAlester in a scrimmage before the season started without some of Shawnee's top players, so Merrell is expecting a win but knows McAlester will be looking for revenge.
“We definitely feel we should win that one,” he said.