MIDLOTHIAN – Isaac Arrington’s mindset is simple – do what the Midlothian soccer coaches tell you and play hard. Friday night, it paid dividends.
Arrington came off the bench about halfway through the first half, scored two goals in a matter of six minutes, set up a third goal and then assisted another in the second half to help the Panthers knock off Mansfield Timberview 4-1.
“I just decided I’m going to try my hardest. It’s next man up mentality. You might get three minutes on the field, you might get 30,” Arrington said. “You’ve just got to go out there and play as hard as you can for as little bit of time as you’ve got. Luckily some chances fell for me today.”
With neither team able to get much going offensively, coach Austin Guest sent Arrington with just over 20 minutes left in the first half. Some nights, Arrington starts, others he’s a reserve. This night he got the latter. The Wolves, on the other hand, got a good look at the back of his jersey.
He scored the first of two goals on a breakaway shot from a Brett Hames assist that went left as the goalie went right with 18:31 left in the first half that sparked a jubilant celebration. Just over six minutes later, Arrington navigated through a cluster of players off a Brian Robertson pass to put his second shot into the back of the net and give the team a 2-0 lead.
While he might have been done personally scoring the goals, Arrington was far from done in leaving his mark on the game.
With 7:00 left in the first half, the Timberview defense became so paranoid of what Arrington could do, they drug him down trying to take a shot on net. Teammate Brett Hames took a shot at the net that was blocked by the Wolves’ goalie but an infraction on the kick allowed the Panthers a second shot. This time, Leevi Schwartz made sure the ball met the back of the net and the team had a 3-0 halftime lead.
With the lead established, Arrington added his final mark to the game, setting Schwartz up with a rocket for a goal and a 4-0 advantage. Both players finished with a brace as the Panthers gave up a late goal with all of the starters pulled and just over six minutes left in the game. It was the lone black mark on a night that belonged to a kid wearing a No. 7 jersey.
“Issac’s got a lot of tremendous attributes and there’s times that he’s going to start and there’s times he’s going to come in off the bench because he has the ability to change games. He got out and changed the game,” Guest said.
Arrington might have stolen the spotlight but he was quick to try and redistribute it. His big night helped the team extend its win streak to three games and improve to 6-1 in district with just one game left in the first half of the district slate.
The Panthers will need more nights like that to keep pace and claim another title, whether it’s from Arrington or any of his teammates.
“It feels great just to come out there and help support the team. Yeah, I might get my name on the stat sheet but it was a whole team effort,” Arrington said. “All 10 other guys on the field had a hand in it. The 4-1 wasn’t just me.”
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