There wasn’t much action in the midfield Tuesday when the O’Fallon Panthers visited Collinsville.
That made for a wide-open offensive contest, and the Kahoks capitalized on the space with a 4-2 victory in a Southwestern Conference game.
Sophomore Logan Whitehead scored two goals and seniors Josh Wobbe and Jordan Blasingame had one apiece for Collinsville, which improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the SWC.
“When you have two talented teams like O’Fallon and Collinsville on the field ... both teams got a little excited with the score getting the way it was,” Kahoks coach Clay Smith said. “Everybody wanted to capitalize on their chances.”
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That was impossible considering the opportunities on goal by both teams.
Collinsville grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by Wobbe and Whitehead, but the Panthers made it 2-1 just before the break on the first of two goals by sophomore Jordan Ellis.
Whitehead made it 3-1 early in the second half, and Blasingame’s penalty kick followed a handball in the box that made it 4-1 less than two minutes later.
Ellis cut the lead to 4-2 less than seven minutes into the second half, and from that point, the teams took turns attacking and counterattacking, but the scoring was complete.
O’Fallon coach Jason Turkington wasn’t sure what to think about his team’s performance, or at least what to say about it. He even looked to the sky.
“Full moon tonight?” he asked.
“We didn’t do much good tonight,” Turkington continued. “I’m at a lot loss for words, to be honest with you. I’m trying to wrap my head around so many different things. Tonight was about so many different aspects that we’re still trying to figure out as a group.”
O’Fallon fell to 3-3-1 and 0-2.
Wobbe put the Kahoks ahead for good when he struck at 3 minutes, 55 seconds. The play opened with a throw-in that caromed off a player in the middle of the box. Wobbe, positioned at the top of the box, hit a one-time volley past O’Fallon senior keeper Joe Guithues.
“It’s my first goal this season. I was pretty excited about it,” Wobbe said. “It just popped off a defender and out to my foot. I was just trying to put it on frame.”
Wobbe said the Kahoks, who graduated leading scorers Luis De Anda and Eric Tejada, must rely on offensive balance this season.
“I think the team played well together,” he said. “We moved the ball properly and that’s why we had all the open space we needed. Everybody needs to step up and take their part. Everybody can score on this team.”
Whitehead lofted a ball over Guithues and into the net to make it 2-0 at 36:17, but Ellis sparked the Panthers when he raced onto a loose ball on the right side and scored past oncoming Kahoks senior keeper Brett Niedzwiecki to make it 2-1 at 38:16.
“That was pure speed,” Smith said. “It takes the wind out of your sails for a little bit. Credit O’Fallon. They didn’t stop playing. If we do a couple of things correctly defensively, that goal is stopped. It’s pretty uncharacterstic for our back four to let in goals like that.
“The season’s young. There’s still a lot of things we can correct. But that’s a good O’Fallon team. To be able to put four in the back of the net, for this team, is great for our confidence.”
Whitehead’s shot bounced over the line to increase Collinsville’s lead to 3-1 at 44:37. Blasingame’s PK came at 46:16 and put the Kahoks ahead by three. Ellis’ second goal, at 47:09, came when he beat a Kahoks defender and scored past a charging Niedzwiecki.
Turkington might have liked the Panthers’ chances to win if he had known before the game that they would twice solve Niedzwiecki, an all-state goalie.
“They’re searching for their identity. So are we,” Turkington said. “It’s early in the season still. If there continues to be patterns, then we panic. But right now, it’s not panic. It’s just kind of, ‘OK.’ You assess, you watch the tape of what happened and you go from there.
“It’s still early. We’ve proven year in and year out that it’s not so much what we do now, it’s what we do in the postseason.”