PINSON — It was a match in which Paul Bryant was no match for Pinson Valley.
Sam Shaw scored two goals and an assist, Hunter Middleton added two goals and Josh Almandarez had two assists plus a goal of his own as the Indians cruised to a 8-0 victory in the first round of the AHSAA Class 5A boys soccer playoffs.
Pinson’s forward line was nearly unstoppable, beating the Stampede’s defense to nearly every through-ball and long pass. Middleton and Shaw kept the barrage going throughout the first half, with Almandarez working the grandstand touch line and feeding his fellow forwards with crossing pass after crossing pass.
The Indians struck quickly, with midfielder Giovanni Molina finding the back of the net five minutes in.
Six minutes later, it was Almandarez on the receiving end of a pass from Shaw for the second goal of the night.
In the 21st minute, Middleton converted on the first of two perfectly-placed crosses into the box to get on the score sheet for the first time. The duo connected again two minutes before halftime.
That’s something that has improved as the season has progressed, Indians coach Chris Mills said.
“That’s has gotten better throughout the year, and it has taken some shuffling around of people to get them in the right spot,” Mills said.
Barely a minute after Middleton’s first score, Shaw got his first when he dribbled past Stampede keeper Devin Fuller.
Then mere seconds after Middleton’s second goal, Ramone Cupido put the Tribe ahead 6-0 with a free kick from 45 yards out, which just squeezed under the crossbar and past a stunned Fuller.
Shaw got his second goal seven minutes into the second half, as he calmly guided the ball into an open net after backup keeper JaCure Jackson misplayed a shot. Shaw had a similar opportunity four minutes prior, but shanked a kick into an untended goal mouth.