MAYFIELD - How good has McCracken County's boys soccer team been during the first week of the regular season? The Mustangs can even beat the heat.
Saturday's game against Mayfield at Bill Hale Field was scheduled for a 10 a.m. start. However, concerns about excessive heat pushed that start time up one half-hour and shortened both halves from 40 minutes to 30.
It did not even slow the charging Mustangs down. Alex Knowles had his third multigoal game in as many tries and Austin Collins pulled off a hat trick as well in McCracken's 10-0 triumph over the Cardinals. Despite the shorter halves, the Mustangs reached the 10-goal mercy rule with 12 minutes left in the game.
"We got out here and their trainer informed us about the heat situation," McCracken coach Aaron Fenton said afterward. "We started earlier and didn't do our normal warm-ups to get as much game in as we could. It was tough on both teams not to get a proper warm-up, but you do what you got to do to get a game in."
Once the game started, the Mustangs played as if warm-ups were overrated. With its new attacking formation in play, McCracken controlled the ball all game. The Mustangs scored five goals in each half. Knowles scored the first goal very quickly, then assisted Zach Akin and Collins on the next two scores. In near back-to-back fashion to close the first half, Collins and Knowles scored their second goals.
Both teams quickly sought shade at halftime. Despite being up 5-0, the Mustangs needed a little more relief since they wore all-black uniforms as the road team. With McCracken's home field still not fit for play, Fenton's team has clearly adjusted to these circumstances.
"I think they're used to it. They're OK in all black now," Fenton said. "The heat will get to them so we make sure they have plenty of ice and water for when they're off the field."
Knowles stamped this game even further as his own when the second half started. He scored the first two goals of the half for a 7-0 edge. It is another step up for the senior midfielder. Knowles scored twice in McCracken's 10-0 victory over St. Mary on Tuesday then got three goals in Thursday's 8-1 win at Caldwell County.
"He's doing well in our new formation. It's more attacking-oriented," Fenton said. "No matter what position he's in, there's always an opportunity to get the score or linking up a ball to pass for someone else's score. We're trying to rotate the forwards and mids around because it's early and we've been doing so well. We're trying to see who's the best fit for each other and he's going to help out the team."
Collins completed his own hat trick to make it 8-0. Caleb Perry closed it out by scoring the final two goals. The Mustang defense was sharp enough for goalkeeper Payton Moore to never face a Mayfield shot. Cardinal goaltender Jared Green finished the day with four saves.
First half - MC-Alex Knowles (Jack Knowles), MC-Zach Akin (A. Knowles), MC-Austin Collins (A. Knowles), MC-Collins (Nevan Houser), MC-A. Knowles (Collins).
Second half - MC-A. Knowles (Noah Deweese), MC-A. Knowles, MC-Collins (Deweese), MC-Caleb Perry (Jake Kirkpatrick), MC-Perry (Gavin Posey).
Saves - MA-Jared Green 4, MC-Payton Moore.
Shots - McCracken 21, Mayfield 0.
Records - McCracken 3-0, Mayfield 2-2.
Call Jon Futrell, a Paducah Sun sports writer at 270-575-8664.