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TOUGH TO TAKE
DO THE BUMP. Southern Nash’s Pablo Mier (left) heads the ball while being defended by Franklinton’s Connor Chapman during last Thursday evening’s boys soccer match on the FHS campus. (Times photo by Geoff Neville)
FRANKLINTON -- Nobody can accuse Franklinton of easing its way into the 2013 boys soccer season.

FHS head coach Isaac Welker isn’t necessarily happy with his club’s 1-2 start, but the level of the Red Rams’ competition needs to be considered during any assessment.

The Red Rams had no problem with Northern Vance, winning by a 6-0 margin last week behind two goals apiece from Connor Chapman and Ivan Rebollar.

Jacob Woodburn and Josh Ortiz also found the back of the net as Franklinton secured its first conquest.

FHS’ losses have come against Corinth Holders and Southern Nash, both of which made deep runs last fall in the state playoffs.

Corinth Holders, which might have its best team in the young history of the school this year, rolled past the Red Rams 6-1.

“I was disappointed with how we played against Corinth,’’ said FHS head coach Isaac Welker. “But they are probably even better than they were last season.’’

But last Thursday, Franklinton hung tough with Southern Nash at home, only to drop a tight 2-1 setback.

The score was 0-0 at halftime, but Franklinton had been unable to convert on a pair of wide-open opportunities in front of the Southern Nash net.

After the clubs exchanged goals, SN went ahead off a laser from Oscar Chavez from 30 yards out with 10 minutes remaining.

“I don’t think the ball was more than one foot off the ground the entire time,’’ said SN head coach Kurt Bienias.

SN keeper Will Liles did the rest in net, turning back a handful of FHS scoring opportunities down the stretch.

“Franklinton has a very good team,’’ Bienias said. “They put some pressure on us.’’

Ivan Rebollar scored for the Red Rams, who outshot the Firebirds 18-7.

“We are still at a point where we are trying to find out which players to play at which positions,’’ Welker said. “At this stage, we haven’t found the right combinations yet.’’

Franklinton does have its share of star power returning from last year, but the Red Rams will have to replace graduated Jared Miller in net.

Miller, now at Mount Olive College, was the 2012 Northern Carolina conference Player of the Year while leading the young Red Rams to the state playoffs.

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