If the past three games are any indicator, the future is bright for Mason County soccer.
Spearheaded by the constant goal scoring of sophomores Nicholas Thomas and Anwar (AP) Perry, the Royals have turned around a sluggish start to the season at 0-3-1, to three straight wins and a .500 record at 3-3-1.
Thomas and Perry have scored eight goals during the winning streak, the two forming as a dynamic scoring threat to the Royals squad as the team has busted out with 20 goals in the three-game winning streak, giving the team 28 goals on the year, second most in the 10th Region behind St. Patrick.
The familiarity the two have for one another goes back way back, when they began playing in elementary school.
“We’ve been playing against each other and with each other since the third grade. We kind of know how to play off each other and read each other,” Perry said. “I think we’ll get better as time progresses and work even better together as we grow older.”
Perry’s athleticism got him quality playing time as a freshman, appearing in all 16 games, scoring a goal and assisting on three others. Thomas’ journey wasn’t as easy, appearing in 12 games as a freshman and recording an assist.
“AP is a kid that as a freshman he was so athletic, he had a ton of varsity minutes. Nic Thomas is a kid who you don’t really look at and say you’re a soccer player. But I put him in so many game situations here and there, he’s really proven himself,” Royals coach Daniel Forsythe said. “I told him early in the season if he keeps coming in and showing up the way that he does, he will earn a spot on this team and that’s exactly what he’s done.”
The results don’t lie. Thomas leads the team with seven goals on the season, Perry tied for second with senior Jordan Dunlap at four. Thomas’ breakout game came against West Union in a 5-0 victory, tallying two goals and scoring six in the last three games.
His approach to putting the ball into the back of the net is pretty simple.
“I just hit it to the more open side honestly. I just try to hit it as far away from the goalie as I can,” Thomas said.
Forsythe doesn’t think this is a mini-stretch for Thomas either, this is something he sees continuing.
“He is a natural athlete and can just find the net. I don’t know how to explain it. He’s fearless and wants to be the first person to the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores 20 goals this season. He’s put up two goals each the past three games and I expect that to continue,” Forsythe said.
Perry has scattered his scoring, posting a goal in four of seven of the Royals’ contests. His speed to go with a nice touch on the ball makes him a weapon at all times. In Mason County’s last contest against George Rogers Clark, Perry hit the post less than 30 seconds into the contest, showing the quickness of his strike. The sophomore remained persistent and got a breakaway before the half to give the Royals all the momentum and a 3-1 lead at the break.
“Once we got that first run, we knew that more were going to keep coming. The more we sent balls through, we just had to keep executing, working as a team,” Perry said.
Thomas would then enter the fray scoring two second half goals in a 6-2 victory over George Rogers Clark.
Overcoming the 0-3-1 start to the season, Forsythe attributes the team’s approach, not only in games, but in practice as well.
“These boys are really focusing in when we have practice and they recognize that it as just as necessary as playing the game. The view of those boys have changed last year compared to this year, which is focusing on practice,” Forsythe said.
The Royals hope to continue their hot streak Wednesday evening when they host Rowan County at 7:30 p.m.