ELKO — The first local athletic event for Elko High School since the spring 2019 was shut down due to COVID-19 was a smash hit.
Although the mercy-rule was enforced with 11 minutes remaining in Friday’s contest, at Adobe Middle School, Elko’s boys soccer team showed little mercy to the Fallon Greenwave — the Indians turning a 3-0 halftime lead into an offensive exhibition in the second half.
Elko scored five goals in 29 minutes of second-half action and rolled to an 8-0 victory in its season opener.
The Greenwave found the first scoring opportunity with a corner kick, but junior Osvaldo Orozco headed the ball away from harm.
The Indians failed to capitalize on a corner kick of the own, but Elko freshman Marcos Carlos came close to punching home the first goal of the season on a shot that missed wide to the left.
However, 14 minutes into the contest — the Indians took the lead for good.
From a free kick on the right wing, senior Jose Ventura sent a pass to the box.
After a deflection, the ball settled long enough for junior Freddy Cervantes to take a touch and hammer a left-handed rocket into the upper portion of the net for a 1-0 lead.
On the other end, Fallon’s momentary offensive charge came to a close as junior goalie Eric Azcue worked away for a collection on a long shot.
Elko nearly took a two-goal advantage as Cervantes pushed the ball down the middle but was blocked by the Greenwave’s keeper.
Nonetheless, the Indians did tack on their second score midway through the first half.
On a cross from the right to the left side, sophomore Austin Weight booked his first varsity score for a 2-0 advantage.
Cervantes ripped another shot into the headwind from the northwest but the ball sailed over the crossbar on the free kick from long distance.
Azcue made a save for the Indians on a shot from the center of the pitch by senior Christopher Ehlers after a missed touch that could have cut Fallon’s deficit in half.
Carlos fought through contact from multiple defenders and freed himself for a look, but his boot flew high over the frame.
The Greenwave’s best chance to score went for naught, as a through ball was sent on a diagonal to sophomore William Klein — his clean look missing wide to the left in the 32nd minute.
Fallon had another opportunity behind Elko’s defense, but Azcue tracked down a ball far away from the frame with a sliding snag in front of a charging player.
Freshman Nicolas Avila took a chance from deep, but his shot sailed high.
He then penetrated the left side through the defense and dished a ball to a teammate in the middle, but the kick also flew over the crossbar.
Carlos came close to opening a three-goal cushion in a one-on-one scenario but the keeper came forward and stymied the ball just as it left Carlos’ foot.
In the 37th minute, the Greenwave scored on themselves.
From a cross by Ventura, a Fallon defender deflected the pass right over the goalie’s hands in their own upper-right corner of the frame.
Momentarily, Elko’s defense lapsed and Fallon pushed the ball down the right side of the field to senior Kyle Kenealy, but his shot did not cross over and missed wide to the right.
At the half, the Indians were in control by a tally of 3-0.
Cervantes opened the second half with a missed shot to the left side from distance, and Carlos had an attempt that was tipped over the frame by Fallon’s keeper.
In the 50th minute, the Indians went up 4-0 after a wild volley.
Ventura received a look-ahead pass from sophomore sweeper Miguel Abarca and dribbled into the right edge of the box and dropped a dime of a pass to junior Manny Cortez — whose kick clanged off the crossbar.
As the ball came back, he found another shot — which smacked off a Fallon defender.
Carlos collected the loose ball, Fallon appearing to have a hand-ball in the box.
The third ricochet wound up the familiar possession of Cortez.
If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times.
His third kick in a wild sequence of volleys was true, lining low to the left side for a four-goal lead.
Just four minutes later, Cervantes used some nifty footwork — accelerating, stopping and then gassing by his defender — then skipping his shot just off the underside of the crossbar for a 5-0 lead for his second goal.
The advantage ballooned to 6-0 in the 60th minute as Avila was assisted for the first goal of his high school career.
His potential became a real threat just three minutes after his first goal, tacking on another.
Stylish work; he used his ball control to weave around and behind multiple defender and nailed a low-line drive to the left side of the frame for his second score and a 7-0 lead.
In the 69th minute, the Indians closed the show.
Avila worked the right side of the field and sent a cross to the middle of the pitch — Carlos taking a shot in his first touch and roping a rip into the net.
Elko rolled to a mercy-rule victory over Fallon in the season openers for both teams by a score of 8-0.
“I think as the beginning the kids were a little nervous. Their touches weren’t that good early on, but I think they settled down and played really well after that,” said Elko coach Alonso Lujan. “These young players are going to be really good. If we can keep them healthy and keep them together, they will be tough for years to come.”
Elko (1-0) will look to remain undefeated against Spring Creek, which, rumor has it, lost its season opener 6-1 on Friday versus Lowry — score not reported.
The Indians and the Spartans will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday, at Adobe Middle School — the game undergoing a time and venue change.
GALLERY: Fallon at Elko Boys Soccer — March 5, 2021