---- — By Todd Stanford
For The Daily Item
HEPBURNVILLE -- It took East Juniata a little while to get going in Saturday night's District 4 Class A championship game. But then one goal started the deluge.
Six different players scored in the second half as East Juniata captured its fourth consecutive district crown with a 7-0 victory over Benton at the Balls Mills Soccer Club.
"In the first half, we didn't finish our chances," said East Juniata coach Don Troutman, who now has five distict titles in all counting the District 3 championship his team won before moving to District 4. "In the second half, as soon as we got that one, it was like the floodgates opened up. We did a better job of getting into a more dangerous position."
"This is amazing," added East Juniata senior Spencer Reinford, who scored one goal and assisted on two others. "We've won two seven-goal games in a row now (counting the team's 7-2 win over Bloomsburg in the semifinals). We feel pretty confident."
Both teams will meet opponents to be announced in the first round of states Tuesday. The site and time for Benton's game will be announced today. East Juniata (20-2) will play at 7 back at Balls Mills.
"Skill-wise, this is as good a team as we've had front to back," Troutman said. "I think we're capable of making a deep run into states; we can play with anybody out there."
Devin Goodling, Nick Lorenz, Jake Sankey, Reinford, Ben Auker and Landon Sheaffer all scored. Lorenz scored a pair of goals. After a scoreless first half, East Juniata, seeded third in this tournament, scored three goals in just over three minutes early in the second half and then never looked back.
Reinford, who played on the back line in the first half, moved to forward after the break (as has been customary this season), and the move immediately paid dividends. Reinford passed the ball to Goodling in the 46th minute, and Goodling's volley from just outside the box found the back of the net.
"Coach puts me in up top and we just throw everything them," Reinford said. "We keep pressing."
Lorenz scored his first goal in the 48th minute off an assist from Sankey. One minute later, Sankey buried a shot off a nice feed from Hunter Gingrich to make it 3-0.
In the 53rd minute, Lorenz put a through ball up top for Reinford, and he one-touched it past the keeper for a 4-0 advantage.
"We played high-pressure the whole game," Troutman said. "And I think the pressure started to mount. ... Just them worrying about (Reinford), about where he was on the field, got them out of shape."
Perhaps the best goal of the game came in the 60th minute. Reinford took a free kick from just inside midfield. Benton keeper Garret Watson lunged forward to make the stop, but the ball squirted out and Auker was there to tap it in.
"It just hit the turf and skimmed," Reinford said of his serve.
Benton, seeded fourth in the tournament, falls to 18-3-1 with the loss.