Alex Walls has every coach’s dream problem — he has too many starters. And it wasn’t long before he got the chance to rotate his lineup.
Knox West came out clicking on all cylinders, building an early lead and cruising to an 8-nil victory over Morristown East at Burke-Toney Stadium on Thursday night.
And the Rebels (8-1-1, 2-0 District 2-AAA) spread the scoring around between five different players, led by a hat trick from Marc Caceres while Alex Magnuson scored twice.
“For those two guys to step up, that’s a big part of our success,” Walls said. “This is the deepest squad I’ve had ever.”
So deep that West actually had another serious scoring threat out with an injury, but Magnuson and Caceres easily filled the void.
Although the Rebels seemed destined to end the match early via mercy rule, Jared Rohrer did his part to ensure all 80 minutes played out.
The senior finished the match with 13 saves, of which seven came in the first half. And he came close to putting the Hurricanes (3-4-2, 0-2) on the board late as his header went just wide of the goal.
“He did his best,” East coach Eric Wright said of Rohrer.
Carter McAdoo played 60 minutes on goal for the Rebels and had a relatively easy night, saving East’s only shot on goal which came when Caleb Sparks caught up to a through ball and struck it toward the net in the 23rd minute.
West’s defense, however, kept the Hurricanes out of the box for much of the match thanks to its starting back four of Matthew McIntyre, Zander Brown, Alejandro Cruz and Will Eggleston.
Not to mention two of West’s normal center backs didn’t even play on Thursday.
“This is the best back four I’ve had at West. That’s a strong statement because I’ve had some really good guys,” Walls said. “The guys play really well as a unit and work well together and move well.”
Caceres got his first goal in the eighth minute when he struck the ball on the ground into the lower left 90 for a 2-nil lead, just one minute after Henry Hodge finished from inside the six-yard box to break the scoreless tie.
The senior’s second goal came in the 45th minute as he headed in a corner kick for a 6-nil cushion, which followed Marc Scherer’s goal into the lower left 90 off Sebastian Uribe’s assist to give West a 5-nil halftime lead.
Caceres scored one last time for a 7-nil lead in the 53rd minute on a low shot inside the right post after David Londono had crossed to him.
Magnuson found the back of the net for the first time in the 11th minute, sprinting ahead of the defender and sending the ball from the left side of the six-yard box into the lower right 90.
The Rebels’ junior forward struck again after his initial shot on a counterattack bounced off Rohrer’s gloves. Magnuson got another chance and sent it low and away into the net.
Will McLean scored West’s final goal when he angled a free kick just inside the left post in the 66th minute.
East managed four shots off goal in the second half.
“It’s just internal for us,” Wright said. “Too much butting heads from the get go. I don’t know how to fix it.”
The Hurricanes pay a visit to Knoxville Catholic on Monday for a 6 p.m. kickoff from Cedar Bluff.