CALDWELL – The Snake River Panthers shook of a slow start with a second half romp as they opened the 3A state tournament with a convincing 5-3 win over Gooding on Thursday afternoon.
Playing at Vallivue High School the Panthers found themselves down 2-0 just eight minutes into the first round contest.
Snake River righted the ship however as they commenced on the comeback trail and two minutes later Cooper Peterson tallied the first of his two goals on the afternoon. On the scoring play Peterson split a pair of defenders and then collided with the goal keeper who had come out of goal in an effort to thwart the opportunity. As both players tumbled to the ground, Peterson was the first to his feet as h out hustled everone to the ball for the Panthers first goal.
“We just came out a little sluggish to start the game and it took us a little time to get our rhythm,” Snake River head coach Trevor Peterson said. “The grass was a little taller on the field that what we are used to so the passing game was a little slower than what we like but once we got our rhythm and the feel for the game we started playing how we know that we can.”
From that goal on, the Panthers pounded the Gooding goal keeper with shot after shot, including 7 corner kick opportunities over the remainder of the first half. None of those shots found their way home however and as the two teams headed to the sideline at the half, Snake River still trailed 2-1.
Never fear, however as Snake River came out with a vengeance in the second half as four different players tallied scores. Andy Garcia, Michael Smith, Josh Dunkle and Cooper Peterson each got a toe on a goal scoring kick as Snake River tied and then blew by Gooding into the semi-finals with a dominating second half performance.
“We came out a lot stronger in the second half,” Coach Peterson said. “Once we finally got it all figured out we were able to dominate and I was very proud of how the guys fought till the end.”
“Usually when you give up a couple of quick goals like we did today they will destroy you,” Coach Peterson continued. “I was really happy with how the guys hung together and overcame that disappointing start. I really couldn’t be prouder.”
With the win the Panthers advance to today’s 2 o’clock semi-final where they will face off against Payette who knocked off Community School 5-2 in their opening round match up. The game will once again be played at Vallivue High School.