Central Hardin boys’ soccer coach Justin Maddock made a couple changes in his lineup last week.

One move was senior Welles Emery to the back.

“Welles is a center-back for his club team,” Maddock said after Thursday’s 4-0 victory over visiting North Hardin in 17th District play. “That’s the position he plays and he plays it well. Obviously, he plays it really well. He knows the game well. He can see the whole field. He’s a very smart, savvy player, so he knows when to go up for a ball and he knows when to shield.

“And he talks. Putting him in that center-back position the last couple games allows him to be in a position where he can talk and coach on the field. When you’re at center-mid, you run so much, you kind of lose track of being able to help coach. I out him back there the last half of Ballard (a 5-0 loss) and it’s been a game-changer at the moment and I think it’s also put other people in more comfortable positions to help us succeed at the moment.”

Bruins senior Blake Kingman scored 9:06 into the match for a 1-0 lead.

“We’ve been focusing more at practice,” Kingman said of winning three-of-four coming off an 0-2-2 stretch. “We changed our formation around a little bit and changed players around a little bit and we’ve been working really hard at practice.

“Our teams have had their heads up more and I feel we’re more confident when we moved Welles in the back. I feel that made us just click better. He’s more in a leader role and it allows us to understand the field more.”

Gabe Torres scored eight minutes later from a Noah Masterson dish inside the box for a 2-0 lead.

Dan Torres got in on the act at 15:23 from a nice Connor Thompson feed for a 3-0 advantage.

“Any lead is dangerous against our district teams,” Maddock said. “In the games I’ve been a part of the past four or five years, we’ve been up 3-1 or 4-1 and all of a sudden it’s 4-4, then 5-4, then 5-5. Any time you can get that extra-cushion goal to change the game it’s huge. Getting the third one makes a big difference because if you make a mistake and give up a goal on a free kick that makes it 3-1, you still have a little bit more of that non-panic kind of cushion. At 2-1, it’s a different panic.

“It was huge to get them early. It was huge because it allows me to get in a rhythm subbing-wise because I’m not stressfully subbing and as nervous and it’s allowing everybody else to get into a rhythm, so as I sub people in they’re getting good touches and they’re more fresh.”

Dan Torres made it 4-0 at 16:25 of the second half from Kyle Wilcox.

“With Welles being back there we all talk more, we all focus more and we’ve just come together better,” Kingman said.

“I think getting off to that start was really good for us. If we would have went down, I feel like our heads might have dropped. But since we went up, all of our heads were really high and we played well.”

Central Hardin (6-5-2, 4-1) hosts Meade County (0-6-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

North Hardin (0-10-1, 0-4) visits Atherton (2-4) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mike Mathison can be reached at 270-505-1758 or mmathison@thenewsenterprise.com.

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