Madison Southern maintightened its control of the 44th District on Thursday in Richmond with another win over its biggest rival.

The Eagles topped Madison Central for the third-straight time.

The Eagles dominated the first half of the game and fended off a late Indian (2-2-4) rally to take a 2-1 victory.

With the win, the Eagles (3-1-4) secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming district tournament while sweeping all of their district foes.

Last month, the Eagles shutout both Berea and Model with 6-0 and 1-0 victories.

"It feels really good," Southern junior Alex Echeverria said after the win on Thursday. "We have been the underdogs for quite a while and it's good to be on top finally."

Southern coach Andrew Lunsford said after a rough start to the season, the Eagles are starting to develop more into a dynamic team.

"We scheduled it like that, because we wanted to put ourselves in the position to pull things like this (win) off. The rough start and all that hard work -- It is paying off for us now," Lunsford said.

Both teams came to battle on Thursday and the game was deadlocked in a scoreless draw until the last seven minutes of the first half.

The Indians and Eagles had traded some good looks, but both goalies kept the ball from finding the back of the net.

Southern's Cam Hechemy then took control of the ball on the right side and crossed-up a Central defender.

His way clear, the freshman barreled down the side of the field and kicked the ball into a crowded center field.

Another Southern freshman, Garrett Wickersham, came swooping through the melee and surprised the Central goalie with a powerful shot to the back of the net.

"Garrett was working hard. We call it an effort goal because he was putting in the effort to make something happen. I'm so proud of him," Lunsford recalled.

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead at halftime.

Central came storming back in the first minutes of the second half and went on the attack.

Hunter Martin got a good look, but Southern goalie Austin Shepherd dove to the right side to make the save and prevent the Indians from gaining ground.

Alex Echeverria then found the back of the net to put Southern up 2-0 over Central minutes later with an explosive kick from the middle.

"That was a spectacular goal. We are so lucky to have players like him on the team. He is just one of those people who can make plays like that from time to time," Lunsford said.

Echeverria said he just made the most of the opportunity he was given and knew he had to take a chance.

"We just had some good build-up play. As soon as I saw the opportunity -- I didn't have a doubt. I knew when my foot was on it that it wasn't going anywhere but in," Echeverria explained.

That cushion didn't come soon enough as Central took advantage of a penalty kick minutes later.

Senior Josh Dluhos launched the kick and it sailed past Shepherd and landed in the back of the net to bring Central within a goal.

After that goal, the Eagles kept the Indians off the board for the remainder of the game to secure the win.

"Central is a good team. We will be meeting them again I'm sure. Hopefully, we can continue to work hard and next time we can put some more distance between us and them on the board and prepare for the next step," Lunsford said.

The Indians will face Cooper next at home on Saturday.

The Eagles will take on South Laurel next in London on Sept. 10.

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