Austin Clifton scored, and scored often in Northwest's 6-0 win Tuesday at Heights. The Northwest junior had four goals in a game that Heights dominated in time of possession and overall aggressiveness.
The sudden surge of goals was a surprise for Clifton.
"It doesn't happen that often at all," Clifton said. "Usually during club ball I play midfield, and this is new playing forward, but none of the goals could have happened without my team. I felt good scoring that many goals, and Heights is not that bad of a team."
Clifton struck in bunches Tuesday night, knocking in goals three minutes apart in the first half. He scored his third and fourth goals within 13 minutes of each other.
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He found himself in the right place at the right time about midway through the first half. After a corner kick by Braeden Holmes, Northwest had multiple shots at the goal. Two rebounds later, Clifton knocked it in for his first goal. He scored his second thanks to an assist by junior forward Broc Cramer.
"He's a go-getter," Northwest coach Bobby Bribiesca said. "If he works hard and stays healthy he's going to keep scoring goals for us. He's just a good athlete, and we're blessed to have him this year. That's why we're better."
Northwest improved to 4-1 with a win in its first game since the Titan Classic. Picking up every win possible is important for Bribiesca.
"It's a good start. We got a 2010 City League win," Bribiesca said. "Today we were just the better team."
For Heights coach Ryan Kelley, the season has been more of a revamping year. He has a team full of juniors and sophomores, but they were starters on a team that finished with 14 wins last year and made it to the quarterfinals in Class 6A before losing to a tough Dodge City team. Senior midfielder Ari Velasquez was a 2009 All-Metro selection, but has been slowed by an injury to his left knee on, and Tuesday's game was his first time on the field. Games like Tuesday night's loss have to serve as character builders for Kelley's young team.
"We're a younger team, but we really have the potential to be competitive," Kelley said. "We didn't play well tonight, and the scoreboard shows that."
Northwest 3 3 — 6 Heights 0 0 — 0
First Half — Northwest, Clifton, Clifton (Cramer), Clifton. Second Half — Northwest, Clifton, Emes, Luna (Holmes). Shots — Northwest 11-7—18; Heights 3-5—8. Saves — Northwest, Lane 2-3—5; Heights, Fuchs 7-3—10.