As play progressed in the 68th minute at Thursday night’s Jefferson District playoff match between Fluvanna County and homestanding Monticello, the scoreboard continued to show a tie for all but a brief minute-and-forty-five-second-window between first-half goals. Much of the action in the second half had been focused in Monticello’s offensive half, but the Fluco defense showed itself to be sufficiently stout. Amidst another Mustang push deep into the box, defender Roman Scales sent a clearing pass out to Emory Davis’s midfield perch by the left sideline.
“We’re a good defensive team, so we hold and hold and wait for that counter-attack,” said Davis, a Fluco sophomore. “That’s what we build up for all game. Roman had it on his feet, and he does a great job to turn around and find me.”
Davis quickly controlled and turned, finding mostly open space on the other half of the field.
“I was running down, and I thought their other center-back would cut over, but he kind of just dropped in,” said Davis of his 50-yard race down the left side. “Once I saw that, I decided I’d play it with the outside of my foot into the opposite corner.”
He delivered the go-ahead strike into the right side of the goal and it held up for a 2-1 victory that vaults the Flucos into the Region 3C tournament as the No. 6 seed. Two minutes ahead of the goal, Davis had fired a shot on-goal that was deflected away by Monticello keeper Jason Armstrong. Before that, he spent a chunk of the second half on the sideline after drawing a yellow card in the forty-eighth minute.
Monticello senior Fabricio Turcios got a couple of looks in the closing minutes, but twice missed wide right. The Mustangs also had a corner kick as the clock ticked down inside of 20 seconds, but no one in a white shirt could get a head or foot on the entry.
“We’ve played these guys for the last couple of years pretty tough,” said Fluvanna coach Earl Gibson. “It’s been a pretty even match, and [tonight] was typical of that.
Fluvanna sophomore Brandon Lucas delivered a perfect header into the net from the left side in the nineteenth minute to put the Flucos on the board first. Sophomore forward Jack Culbreath provided the quick equalizer for Monticello. Culbreath had a go-ahead opportunity in the forty-fifth minute, but a no-look heel shot on a loose ball a few yards in front of the net missed wide left. Ten minutes later, a header deep in the box missed high.
Underclassmen certainly had top billing for both squads in the match – and it went beyond goal scoring.
“I’ve got to tell you, Ryan [Holman] is an impressive kid,” Gibson said of his freshman minding the net. “He’s actually our JV keeper who we had to bring up and he’s really stepped up huge for us.”
Fluvanna will look to pick up another road win in its Region 3C quarterfinal match at Rustburg. Despite the loss, Monticello will also see tournament action as the number-7 seed. The Mustangs head to Spotswood for their quarterfinal. Both games are slated for Monday.