Sep. 1—SIDMAN — There were bits and spurts where the Forest Hills Rangers possessed the ball outside of their defensive third during Thursday's boys' soccer match against Bedford at G.H. Miller Memorial Field at Forest Hills Junior-Senior High School.
The Bisons, however, were quick to use a relentless press and counter-attack system to keep stress on the Rangers' defensive efforts throughout the 80 minutes, creating clusters of close-range goals on their way to an 8-1 win.
The Bisons' white wall of pressure kept the ball largely in their attacking third and delivered nearly two dozen mid-to-high-quality scoring chances.
"It's something we've been working on, trying to pick up all of our marks and not let teams out their own end of the field," Bedford coach Barrett Schrock said. "That's one of our goals this season, to go with our offense that is pretty potent. It's still a work in progress, but it's getting better."
The win was Schrock's 117th career triumph at Bedford, establishing him as the program's all-time winningest coach as he passed Tom Otis.
"I like that I've had an impact on the program," Schrock said. "That's what matters to me. Seeing the kids develop. Talking to kids after they graduate. Seeing the kids grow over the years. Really, that's what matters to me over the wins.
"As a younger coach, I cared about wins more. Now it's to the point where it's about development, playing good soccer and having the experience."
Bedford scored in the first minute on Chase Bussard's strike from inside the 18. The Rangers (2-1) answered in the third minute on Kaden Carpenter's goal off a corner kick.
Bussard, who tallied three goals, gave Bedford the lead in the eighth minute from almost the same spot as his first tally and triggered a scoring avalanche that saw goals from Cameron Beck (14th minute), Owen Schrock (19th) and Timothy Crist (27th).
"We just wanted to start fast," Bussard said. "We had a good start in our last game (on Tuesday against Carroll-McCort Catholic). We just wanted to keep that momentum going into this game. We scored first, but then they got one back, so we knew we needed to get going and put a bunch of goals past them."
Bussard, who notched a program-record 30 assists during the Bisons' 143-goal rampage a season ago, has been one of many players to leave their thumbprints on Coach Schrock's now-record tenure with the Bisons.
"For me, it's been four years of a lot of winning and for (Coach Schrock), I don't even know how long it's been," Bussard said. "He's built a pretty good program here. To keep it going is a good thing. I just hope we can keep on going."
Keeping the success going in an expanded and tougher Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference appears to be a tall order, but one the Bisons hope to attack with gusto.
"We played State College a couple of weeks ago," Barrett Schrock said. "One thing they do well is throw numbers forward.
"Ever since then, that's what we've talked about, 'Getting numbers forward.'
"That helps us, especially when teams are clogging up the net, where if we have five guys sitting inside the 18, our chances of scoring go way up."
The display of defense quickly turning to offense allowed Bedford (2-0) to keep Forest Hills on its back foot throughout the second half, though a multitude of diving and aerial saves by Rangers starting goalkeeper Bryce Carroll and his backup Isaac Valko kept the deficit at four goals until Cole Taylor netted a pair in back-to-back minutes with Bussard capping the outburst in the 66th minute, seconds after Taylor's second goal.
"Bedford has a really, really good team," Forest Hills coach Carlos Gonzales said.
"We do our best here. We just have to work on the mistakes that we make."
Gonzales was able to take positives from the heavy defeat.
"We scored a goal against Bedford. We had never done that before," the first-year coach said.
"We just need to talk, communication in the field," Gonzales added later when asked about teaching moments from the loss. "We can talk, but tonight we were too quiet.
"Talking in the field and helping each other is a key for us."
Shawn Curtis is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814- 532-5085. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnCurtis430.