One of the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team's biggest weapons this year isn't a big leg or an accurate head - it's a pair of arms.
Those appendages in question belong to the Crimson Bears' Zach Farrington. The center fullback's throw-ins led to a pair of Colin Flynn goals as JDHS played Joel E. Ferris High School to a 2-2 tie Thursday in Spokane, Wash.
"We scored on two similar plays and they're becoming very familiar," JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. "It's Farrington to Flynn on throw-ins."
Juneau-Douglas (1-0-1) scored twice in the game's first 11 minutes to seize a 2-0 lead over the undefeated Saxons (6-0-1).
Both goals came off one of the Bears' most effective set pieces. Each goal started with Farrington throwing the ball toward the Ferris net. While striker Dominic Smith is the normal target of the throw-in, the ball found its way to Flynn each time for the goals, according to Lehnhart.
"It's not that (Farrington) throws it a long way, but he throws it exactly where he wants it," Lehnhart said. "That's pretty amazing. I've had some kids that could throw 50 yards but you didn't know where it would land."
For the past two seasons, the set piece evolved into a crucial part of Juneau's offensive arsenal.
In last year's state tournament semifinal game, Smith used his head to deflect Farrington's throw into the net to beat West Anchorage 2-1 in double overtime.
In the play, the 6-foot-3 Smith serves as the target of Farrington's throw. He's athletic enough to jump and touch the ball and also dangerous enough to force opposing defenders to rush to him. This can free up space for other JDHS players, including Flynn.
"Sometimes he touches it and other times he jumps and lets it fall," Lehnhart said of Smith. "He creates momentum."
Ferris capitalized on a pair of restarts to solidify a tie.
In the 15th minute, the Saxons' Alec Cutter scored off a corner kick. Cutter netted the equalizer with a diving header off a free kick in the 53rd minute, Lehnhart said.
Despite squandering a two-goal lead, Lehnhart said he was pleased with the result.
"We had some chances but they did too," he said. "Our defense was shaken for a while but we were able to get it back together. That's the best thing about this team, when I thought we were about to break we got our act back together.
"That's why these games are so good - to be pushed like this early forces the guys to get after it."
JDHS goaltender Sam Post made two saves in the draw while each team recorded eight shots.
Lehnhart singled out a number of players for their solid effort Thursday - including Joe Croteau, Isaac Stark, Aaron Badilla, Elliot Ford, Smith, Flynn and Kevin Gullufsen.
"Kevin Gullufsen played some good minutes," Lehnhart said. "He hasn't gotten many minutes, but he's created some havoc. He plays all over and wherever we need him."
Juneau-Douglas concludes its roadtrip this weekend as it plays Central Valley (4-2) today and East Valley (0-6) on Saturday.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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