Delaware Hayes boys soccer coach Robb Morgan wanted to see if his team could respond in a positive way down a goal or two.
Whitehall-Yearling gave the Pacers such an opportunity when Brook Wale scored on a rebound 21 seconds into the game to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
And Briggy Kannally gave Morgan that positive response, scoring five goals in the first half to help the Pacers to a 5-3 victory over visiting Whitehall in non-league action Wednesday night at Cornell Stadium in Delaware.
“We have had seven games where goals have been scored in the first five minutes against us,” Morgan said. “It’s high school soccer – so it’s an issue of confidence when you give up a goal early. It can change the whole trajectory of a game.”
Kannally was like a basketball shooter on a hot streak. Everything he touched seemed to find the back of the net.
“It’s unforgettable,” Kannally said. “You want to make memories every day and that’s one that I’m going to remember for a while.”
Morgan was pleased with the way his team responded after being down a goal so early.
“Our commitment is to win the first five minutes,” Morgan said. “That’s the goal of most high school teams. So, to go down 1-0 in the first 21 seconds and then instantly respond with the attitude and effort (that we did) – I’ll take that any time.”
Morgan pointed to Kannally’s effort as the difference-maker in tonight’s performance.
“He’s a special kid … it’s hard to stop his pace and it’s hard to stop his effort,” Morgan said. “As much as he’s got talent – there’s a lot of talented kids – he doesn’t stop working.”
“I grew up in a household where that was important,” Kannally said. “So, I always give it my all … give it my 100 percent just to help the team.”
Kannally scored his first one off a Kyle Klumpp feed with 28:44 remaining, starting a string of three goals in a five-and-a-half-minute stretch to turn a deficit into a 3-1 lead.
“It’s fortunate for us to have that sort of talent on our team with (Kannally) and Klumpp together,” Morgan said. “The way they play together (and) the way they can find each other intuitively … I’m glad to have them on our squad.”
Kannally stepped in front of a Whitehall clearing attempt of a Jordan Malisiak centering feed and touched it in to push the lead to 4-1 with 9:02 left.
But, the best was saved for last. Klumpp took a free kick from the other side of midfield that found Kannally about 50 yards down field. He collected it and fired it in to give the Pacers a 5-1 lead with 16 seconds left before the break.
“We have good chemistry, so we always try to find each other,” Kannally said. “He played a perfect ball and all I had to do is put a head on it.”
Whitehall’s Fernando Sanchez scored off a free kick from deep on the left side with 4:04 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Wale, who rebounded and put-back a Cesar Artica shot that was initially saved by Hayes goalkeeper Sam DeLong, scored another with 3:13 remaining that came off his own steal to cut it to 5-3 for the Rams (4-3-6).
DeLong had four saves in goal for the Pacers (5-6-1).
Next up, Hayes returns to OCC-Cardinal play Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts Dublin Jerome.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.