TAZEWELL, Va. — Amid the fog and mist surrounding Lincolnshire Park, the Abingdon Falcons proved why they could be capable of greatness. They cut through the cold and the wet and overwhelmed the Tazewell Bulldogs Tuesday night 9-2.

From the outset, the Falcons flew high, putting together passes, finding open spaces, and doing the things to create a barrage of goals that would be expected of a team at midseason.

“We’ve had a real tough preseason,” Abingdon head coach Michael Leonard explained. “We scrimmaged Tennessee High and played Lord Botetourt, Franklin County, and Cave Springs. So we really tried to make it as tough as we could coming into this game.”

“Abingdon’s a very good team,” Tazewell head coach Tim Rasnick admitted. “They’re a possession team. They play a overlap-and-replace. They play a lot of through balls. They have a lot of skill. And a lot of those kids play 10-12 months out of the year.”

Zack Jarrett scored twice for the Falcons to help them gain a 4-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. Neil Henry then added to his 13th-minute assist by scoring the next three Abingdon goals to put the game away completely.

Six different Falcons scored — a very encouraging sign for Leonard.

“We teach team all the time and there’s no selfish players on this team,” Leonard noted. “You can’t play soccer with one player. So we try to spread the ball around. No one cares who scores as long as we score.

“I don’t have superstars. I don’t allow it. If a kid wants to be a star, they can pick another team.”

According to Rasnick, the Bulldogs have not had the luxury of practicing on the pitch due to the weather and other factors.

“We’re still dealing a whole lot with we’ve been on the field actually four days,” Rasnick noted. “Abingdon’s a very good team, but we’re still dealing with early season issues.

“You can see the field here tonight. It’s extremely wet, muddy. We’ve got spacing issues. We’ve got strength of kick issues, all those things that can be corrected once we get on the field consistently.”

The one thing that irked Leonard Tuesday night was that his substitutes allowed a pair of late goals to the Bulldogs. That is why the emphasis will be on a full 80-minute performance when the 1-0 Falcons travel to George Wythe on Thursday.

“We’ve got to play for 80 minutes,” Leonard said. “Our subs came in the game and I think they knew it was a big score and I think they let down and we can’t have that. They’ve got to play everybody no matter who’s on the field.”

The 0-2 Bulldogs are not sure where or when their next game will be. If the field at Lincolnshire is ready, they will play in the Southwest Virginia Cup on Saturday against John Battle. If it is not, they will travel to Marion on Friday.

The Bulldogs are sure of what they will do to be ready.

“We’ve got to continue to work on fundamentals. We’ve got to continue to work on spacing,” Rasnick said. “Just your basic issues in soccer which are first touch — we had a horrendous day with first touches tonight.

“We’ve got to have good first touches. We’ve got to have good movement, spacing, those things we have to continue to work on every day.”

— Contact Jed Lockett

at jlockett@bdtonline.com

Goals — Abingdon: Tyler Thompson (6), Zack Jarrett (13, 30), Shane Henry (20 Pen), A.J. Palmer (34), Neil Henry (40, 52, 53), Chris Givins (79); Tazewell: Aaron Belcher (65), T.J. Rasnick (77). Assists — Abingdon: Neil Henry (13), Michael Backus (22). Halftime — Abingdon 6-0. Shots (On Goal) — Abingdon 21 (17); Tazewell 9 (6). Corner Kicks — Abingdon 6; Tazewell 2. Offsides — Abingdon 3; Tazewell 0. Fouls — Abingdon 5; Tazewell 0. Cards — None.

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