Bransyn Felty was a dominating offensive threat. Buhler High’s defense matched Felty’s efficiency with a 3-0 soccer shutout over Berean Academy.
Felty, quick and elusive, scored two goals and added an assist. Goalie Tyler Maxwell led a stout defense with the Crusaders’ fifth straight shutout victory for a team featuring 14 seniors.
Buhler (5-2) dominated ball possession with precise passing and teamwork that pleased coach Tim Harris. The Crusaders patiently worked the ball upfield until they got into scoring position behind its offensive front of Felty, Alex Darrow, Jacob Carroll and Joe Warner.
“We possessed the ball really well, which I’m happy with,” Harris said. “We passed it back-and-forth really well and kept moving it in our triangles.”
Berean defender Andy Phipps shadowed Felty with extra effort, but Harris kept switching Felty’s position to give him operating room.
Felty, the Crusaders’ all-time leading scorer with 78 goals, scored on a breakaway when Berean's defense failed to control a bouncing ball at the 23:55 mark in the first half. Felty has 14 goals and has surpassed the career scoring record of 75 goals by Tyler Sellers.
“Felty showed why he’s a spectacular player,” said Berean coach Russel Busenitz. “We knew Buhler was a good team that would give us a great test and show where we stand in Class 4-1A. Buhler is a strong team.”
Maxwell, typically as busy as a Maytag repairman, got an assist from a teammate to preserve his shutout streak. Maxwell has five shutouts, almost halfway home to Eric Sidebottom's school record of 11 shutouts in a season.
A blocked shot bounced to Berean's Clark Busenitz, and his header slipped past Maxwell. But Buhler defender Garrett Wilkinson saved Buhler's shutout when he cleared the ball on the goal-line two minutes into the game.
Berean's Tyler Busenitz had a couple opportunities off corner kicks, Kameron Wiebe had two direct kicks and T.J. Guhr made a nice offensive run. Maxwell was supported by defenders Ky Nixon, Cole Younger, J.T. Gehling and Wilkinson.
“Our defense played very well, tightened it up and stepped up and made it tough to score,” Harris said. “They took care of business and took care of the ball.”
After Buhler controlled play the first half, Berean (4-2) dictated the tempo at the start of the second half with hustling plays. Busenitz liked what he saw from a young team with three seniors – Clark Busenitz, T.J. Guhr and Chad Cook.
“What we learned is we showed we can play with a good team like Buhler,” Busenitz said. “We played well in spurts. We challenged them to be consistent and eliminate some mistakes that really hurt us today. Every time we made a mistake, Buhler made us pay.”
Busenitz said he enjoyed seeing the Warriors play on Buhler’s perfectly-groomed field at Wheatland Park.
“With a perfect field like this, you learn how to play fast and react because you’re going to get perfect bounces,” Busenitz said. “We’ve just got to get better.”
Buhler travels to Hays High Thursday.