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Central boys beat Laramie to stay perfect on the season

Apr. 12—The No. 1-ranked Cheyenne Central boys soccer team stayed unbeaten on the year following a 4-1 road win over Laramie on Thursday night at Deti Stadium.

The Indians' defense acted as a brick wall in the first half. The Plainsmen's first shot attempt of the game didn't come until junior Sammy Heaney's try with under 10 seconds to play in the first frame.

"We got after it," Indians coach Dirk Dijkstal said. "This is a very good Laramie team, and they did a lot to take us out of our elements."

Central senior Logan Custis entered play tied for third in Class 4A with nine goals. He found the net early against Laramie, scoring in the 17th minute.

"It was one of those goals where you can only credit the high effort," Dijkstal said.

Added Custis: "It was a good ball. It bounced right around the defenders and they didn't touch it. I ran as fast as I could and got there first."

On the play, a Plainsmen defender was shoved to the ground and LHS' defense let up while expecting a whistle that never came. The Indians nearly scored a minute later, but Plainsmen goalkeeper senior Declan O'Connor sprinted out of the net before Central could fire a shot.

The Indians did add to their lead in the 29th when a throw-in from senior Sam Smith found Roscoe Cone-LeBeaumont in the box. The Indians' physicality resulted in five first-half fouls, but the Plainsmen were unable to generate many threatening opportunities.

"Central was super dynamic and ruthless," Plainsmen coach Andy Pannell said. "We played pretty well in the first half and didn't give up a ton of chances, but when we did, the Central forwards made it hurt."

After a tightly contested start to the second half, the Indians broke through in the 72nd with a goal from Smith. The ball was knocked into a sea of bodies inside the Laramie box before O'Connor deflected the ball toward the feet of Smith.

"(Laramie) played really well with their wings," Dijkstal said. "They like to play with a lot of width, and we play in our formation. Their style of play is a good counter to what we like to do."

Central struck again in the 75th after an assist from senior Sam Shumway led to another goal for Custis. Shumway split the ball between two Laramie defenders, leaving Custis with one man to beat.

"Central is always pressing," Pannell said. "They were high up on our back four. Their forwards are always almost offside. I don't think we're pressing and making runs behind the other team's back four enough."

LHS continued to fight and finally pushed a goal across in the 78th after a corner kick from senior Catcher Pannell was headed by senior Paul Taufa and kicked in by senior Tyler Ennist.

"They have an excellent back four," Dijkstal said. "Of course, Catcher Pannell and some others. (Heaney) works so hard and is an amazing player."

Central (7-0 overall, 5-0 4A East Conference) returns to action Friday for a home match against Cheyenne South (1-6, 0-5).

"We started out good and got mellow," Custis said. "About ten minutes into the second half, we started to pick it back up. Overall, our effort was good, and we contained a good Laramie midfield."

Laramie (4-2-1, 2-2-1) also plays Friday on the road against Cheyenne East (4-2, 2-2).

"Tomorrow, I'd like to see us press a little higher up the field and get a little more service from our midfield," Pannell said. "East is a possession-style team. They play similar to Central, but aren't quite as dynamic. They don't have the big time forwards that score twenty plus goals a season."

CENTRAL 4, LARAMIE 1

Halftime: Central 2, Laramie 0.

Goals: Central, Custis (Smith), 17. Central, Cone-LeBeaumont (Smith) 29, Central, Smith (Unassisted), 65, Central, Custis (Shumway) 68, Laramie, Ennist (Taufa) 78.

Shots: Laramie 3, Central 10. Shots on goal: Laramie 2, Central 7. Saves: Laramie 4 (O'Connor); Central 1 (Somerset).

Corner kicks: Laramie 2, Central 4. Offsides: Laramie 0, Central 2. Fouls: Laramie 2, Central 9.

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Austin Edmonds covers Laramie High, University of Wyoming and community athletics for WyoSports. He can be reached at aedmonds@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @_austinedmonds.