Dominating the goal

Special to the JournalOctober 3, 2013 

Cody Hoffman put his hands in the air to signal a goal and looked to the linesmen in hopes his shot had crossed the goal line after hitting the top crossbar.

He wanted that goal. No, it wasn’t a game-winner or even a goal that would have tied the game, but it would have been another mark for the Lee’s Summit North senior forward in a dominating performance. But it hadn’t crossed.

No worries, though, as Hoffman would get on the scoreboard a little less than a minute later in what would be his fifth goal of a 6-0 win over Blue Springs South.

“It’s up there,” said Hoffman when asked to rank this performance among his best. “This was a conference game, which are always big.”

Hoffman was the Broncos’ leading scorer coming into the game with 17 goals, but only had three of those in four conference games before more than doubling that total. It was his second five-goal game of the season.

“He has the potential to score like that,” North head coach Tim Richardson said. “When he’s on he can look superior. He has a lot of poise in front of the goal and he can create chances for himself. He can go around the goalkeeper, chip it over the goalkeeper, whatever.”

A little bit of everything in Hoffman’s skill set was on display Oct. 2, with the one remaining constant on nearly every goal being a great pass from a teammate.

“I felt like the team put me in a good position to score,” Hoffman said. “I just had to get it past the goalkeeper.”

Added Richardson, “Their defense was playing a little high and our guys recognized the opportunity to put it behind. When he (Hoffman) got it he made things happen.”

Down a starting defender, Blue Springs South tried to do its best to keep up with Hoffman and the Broncos, but it didn’t take long for them to take advantage.

Hoffman’s first goal came seven minutes into the game when he got a cross from Hunter Pickering and despite being unable to do anything with it at first, he stuck with it after multiple South defenders were unable to clear the ball. He eventually got enough room to kick the ball past a diving Nick Shafer, who actually deflected it, just not enough.

“It was a fluke,” Hoffman said of the first goal. “Their center backs probably clear that nine out of 10 times. I was just lucky to be there.”

The second was off a corner, as Dylan Shilcutt just tapped the ball to Hoffman a few yards from him. Only one Jaguar defender was nearby and another didn’t step up in time before Hoffman took a few dribbles and rifled the ball into the back of the net.

“We worked on that set piece in practice, so it was nice to see it pay off,” Richardson said.

The next three goals were very similar for Hoffman, as a teammate put the ball out in front and gave him a chance to make a play. And every time, he did.

“Coach always reminds me that I have the ability to perform like that,” Hoffman said. “I just try to perform to his expectations every time.”

Shilcutt scored the final goal of the game after a Hoffman header hit off the post right to him for the wide-open goal.

Lost in the shuffle a bit of Hoffman’s impressive performance was another strong outing by the defense, which put together its seventh shutout of the season and sixth in eight games.

“We have a very strong goalkeeper (in Parker Johnson). We have a lot of confidence in the back,” Richardson said. “We tinkered with the back line a little. They’ve done a good job.”

Hoffman also pointed to the defense – and team chemistry – as a key for the team’s current eight-game winning streak to move them to 9-2-1 on the season.

It’s been a dominating stretch for the Broncos, having outscored their opponents 31-3 during that time, as they appear to have hit midseason form.

“By the middle of the season you start to figure out who plays where and what everyone’s role is,” Richardson said. “It takes a little while for that to happen. We’ve been taking it one game at a time. We’re not worried about putting a long streak together.”

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