Monday, October 02, 2023

Boys soccer wins a pair on the road, beat Rangers, again

Photographer | August 30, 2023 2:00 AM

The Columbia Falls boys soccer team defeated Livingston on Saturday in a 5-3 victory, with nine new starters in the lineup. The match mimicked last year’s State A Championship game against Livingston, which the Cats won 5-2. Coach O’Brien Byrd was proud of his young team’s performance, and expects them to keep turning heads.

“Our combination play was unstoppable, and our speed of play was at a higher level than last year — I think we’re going to surprise some people,” Byrd said.

As the team develops their playing style, Byrd hopes to encourage the “Total Football” tactical system popularized in Europe in the late ‘70s. The idea, he explained, is that six or seven players are scoring instead of one or two, making them harder to defend against.

“Everybody shares the ball, everybody wants the ball, and players can change positions… We’re going to develop that concept,” Byrd said. Right now, Kai Golan, River Wolford, Jack Harris and Traic Fainter are serving as the “engine room” of the team’s attacks, with Fainter scoring twice in the game against Livingston.

“They’re able to provide goals until teams get dizzy,” Byrd said.

Byrd also touted goal keeper Rafe Rusche’s skills, saying he came out of the gate as arguably the best keeper in the state. Junior Ethan Henjum has been a fast, powerful vocal leader for the team on defense as well.

The Wildcats plan to keep up the energy from the Livingston win, as well as a 10-0 victory over East Helena on Friday. On Tuesday’s home game against Frenchtown after presstime, their plan was to put up a lot of goals and cut out the mistakes that cost them those three goals to Livingston.

Look for photos and scores update online.

Up next, the Cats will face Corvallis on Sept. 2 at noon at home.

Columbia Falls 4 1 — 5

Livingston 1 2 — 3

CF — River Wolford (Traic Fainter) 11:00

CF — Kai Golan (Ben Martin) 17:00

CF — Fainter 24:00

CF — Max Everett (Golan) 29:00

L — Bridger Braham 40:00

L — Alec Dalby 55:00

L — Dalby (Jahn Hasbrouck) 56:00

CF — Fainter 73:00

Shots — CF 13, Liv 10; Goalie saves — CF 8 (Rafe Rusche), Livingston 9 (Isaac Winfrey); Corner kicks — CF 4, Liv 6; Fouls — CF 8, Liv 6; Cards — CF 1, Liv 1. 

Columbia Falls 8 2 — 10

East Helena 0 0 — 0

CF — River Wolford (Traic fainter) 5:00

CF — Fainter (Jack Harris) 9:00

CF — Fainter (Brady Bell) 23:00

CF — Sol Masters (PK) 25:00

CF — Neehl Adams (Wolfrod) 31:00

CF — Adams (Harris) 35:00

CF — Masters (Harris) 38:00

CF — Adams (Connor Zumalt) 40:00

CF — Max Everett (Fainter) 41:00

CF — Fainter (Isak Soyland) 51:00

Shots — CF 21, EH 1; Goalie saves — CF Rafe Rusche 1), EH 10 Ruben Miller; Corner kicks — CF 9, EH 1; Fouls — CF 5, EH 5; Cards — None.

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