LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — While momentum within the constantly changing Prep League boys’ soccer standings seem to favor a new darling on a weekly basis, it’s hard to deny the message sent by Flintridge Prep against rival Poly on Saturday afternoon.
The surging Rebels scored a trio of goals in each half and took advantage of a short-handed and surprisingly flustered Panthers squad en route to a 6-0 home victory.
The triumph added to a five-game unbeaten streak in which Flintridge Prep (7-8-2 overall, 3-1-1 in league) is 4-0-1 and in the mix with defending co-league champion Chadwick (3-0-2 in league) and Webb (2-2).
On the flip side, reigning co-league champion Poly (4-7-1, 1-2-1) is 0-2-1 over its last three matches, having scored three goals during that stretch while surrendering 11.
“I didn’t expect six goals or three in the first half,” Rebels Coach AJ Yates said. “We put the ball in good positions and we scored.”
Yates received a banner effort from junior forward Cole Rademacher, who tallied two goals and an assist and spear-headed a match-changing five-minute span midway through the first half with the game scoreless.
Rademacher laced a pass in the 20th minute from outside the 18 to teammate Tim Bates, who was right in front of goal and collided with Panthers goalie Brian Ward.
No card was given on the play as Ward punched away a shot from Bates to his left right into the waiting leg of sophomore striker Ari Baranian, who one-touched a goal from five yards that put the Rebels up, 1-0.
The no-call irked Poly Coach Doug Jolly, who expressed his dismay to the head official as a banged up Ward was replaced by sophomore Skyler McLean.
Frustration boiled over moments after the substitution when Poly sophomore Ben Hubsch was red carded in the 24th minute for offensive and abusive language, according to the head official, against Bates, who was on the floor when the call was made.
The card proved doubly damaging when Rebels senior captain Manny Perez knocked in the subsequent penalty kick to put the Rebels up, 2-0, in the 25th minute.
“We did lose our focus today. That’s something we work on and that can be hard to do,” Jolly said. “That’s something we pride ourselves on, so that’s particularly frustrating because that’s something that’s very important to me. That’s stuff beyond soccer.”
The dagger may have come in the 36th minute when a corner kick from Perez was inadvertently knocked in by a Panthers’ defender to put the Rebels up 3-0.
Just in case there was any doubt, Rademacher scored two goals in the 53rd and 55th minutes off assists from Baranian and Perez to give the Rebels a 5-0 advantage, which eventually ballooned to 6-0 in the 78th minute on a rebound score from Michael Weinstein.
“We’ve had a couple of tough games, like when we tied Chadwick 2-2,” Rademacher said. “So, we just wanted to come out and have a strong showing. We heard that Poly had been competing really well, so we just wanted to come strong, which we did, and play well the whole game.”
Rebels goalie Clayton Weirick finished with three saves in notching the shutout.
“We have work to do. I’ll sit down with my assistant coach and figure out exactly how we’ll do that,” Jolly said. “We don’t just move on from this. We have to fix some things.”