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Warren boys roll with changes despite injuries

Times Observer Photos by Jay Young Warren’s Jack Darling, left, wins a battle for a corner kick that JT Blum, right, finished off for the Dragons’ first goal on Wednesday.

The Warren coaching staff was forced to make some unexpected adjustments for Wednesday’s boys soccer game at War Memorial Field, with senior captains John Page and Ian Darling both sidelined with injuries, but the result remained the same as the previous four outings.

The Dragons easily improved to 5-0 on the year, topping District 10 Region 4 opponent Titusville (2-3), 4-0, thanks to some key contributions from players in unfamiliar positions.

“We were a little banged up that game, but I thought we pieced together a nice win and kept them off the scoreboard,” Warren assistant coach Chris Darling said. “I thought our defense played pretty sound.”

Shifting from his normal spot on the defensive line into a more active midfield roll, Jack Darling made the most of his new opportunity with Page sidelined.

Eleven minutes into the opening half, Darling joined teammate JT Blum in the 6-yard box as Wesley Kiehl positioned himself for a corner kick. Darling and Blum won the battle in the air, with the latter getting the final touch past Titusville goaltender Joseph Banner to make it a 1-0 game.

Warren’s Wesley Kiehl gets position on a defender during Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Titusville.

“A lot of people played out of position today,” head coach Denny Flatt said. “Jack stepped up playing a position he normally doesn’t play, and did a good job quarterbacking. He was a difference maker today. He’s got a lot of tenacity and he is a basketball player also. His positioning is pretty good, he knows where he needs to be.”

From the first whistle, the Dragons dominated time of possession, with Kiehl firing a pass from Parks Ordiway off the left post shortly before his corner to Blum began the scoring.

Three minutes after its first tally, Warren made it 2-0 when Ordiway grabbed a pass from Kiehl, slipped past his defender and ripped a shot just inside the left post that could not be reached by Banner.

The standout sophomore picked up a second goal with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, while Warren’s fourth and final goal came in the seventh minute of the second half when Kiehl picked up a third assist with a clean cross that was banged home by Patrick Hefferen.

Between Kiehl’s ability to find open players, Ordiway’s finishing prowess, and a roster filled with versatile players at defense and midfield, Warren is likely to continue finding the back of the net and frustrating opposing strikers.

“Wesley Kiehl is a great distributor on our offense, he has got a lot of assists,” Chris Darling said. “Him and Ian Darling both have probably seven or eight assists this year. Jack would have started as a freshman also. Jack and Parks are both sophomores and both started as freshman. So they have varsity experience. (Jack) normally plays our center back on defense. He moved up into kind of a defensive-mid type position to kind of quarterback the defensive side there.”

Jack Darling finished with an assist on Ordiway’s second of the night, in addition to his roll in Warren’s first tally.

The Dragons will travel to face Meadville at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and can expect a difficult test against Saegertown on Tuesday next week.

JUNIOR HIGH

WARREN POSTS SHUTOUT

Warren was a 3-0 winner in the junior high contest, the team’s first of the year.

Patrick Hefferen, Alex Eaton and Tristan Shepard all took care of the scoring, Maddux Reed had two assists, while Will Nebinski and Austin Eggleston split time in net for the shutout.

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