HUNTSVILLE — Danner Keeton scored four goals, including a first half hat trick that was aided by three assists from Gabe Hacker, to pace Oneida to an 8-4 win over Scott High on Monday.
The game was close throughout the first half before Oneida eventually began to pull away in the second half. Eli Storey had a pair of goals to keep the Highlanders in it.
In fact, after Keeton scored almost immediately, Storey answered to tie the game, and that’s how things stood for a while. Oneida had several opportunities to add to the scoreboard, but Scott High did, too. Goalies Adrian Parra for Scott High and Gavin Keeton for Oneida each had several nice saves.
The Indians were able to grab a 3-1 lead late in the first half when Mason Keeton scored the first of his two goals and Danner Keeton added his second goal. But then Storey scored his second goal to cut it to 3-2, before Danner Keeton scored again late to make it 4-2 at the intermission.
Gabe Hacker scored to start the second half, and the Indians appeared to be on the verge of running away with the game. But Scott High junior Kristian Obrasunszki scored a goal to cut it to 5-3. From there, Oneida put three straight goals on the board — Mason Keeton scored, Danner Keeton scored and Reice Kennedy scored — before Josiah Fladie added another score late for the Highlanders.
The win marked the third time this season that Oneida has defeated Scott High.
“It was a fun game. A lot of points … more points than Coach (Phil Newport) and I are comfortable with,” said Oneida coach Derek Keeton. “But it was good to have our guys back. This is the first time we’ve had all our guys back in two weeks.”
The Indians had been without defender Matthew Brown, who missed a couple of weeks with a thigh strain. Danner Keeton had also been slowed by a quad strain.
“It was a disappointing outcome, yet again,” Scott High coach Eric Henry said. “Derek has a good bunch of players. They listen to him, he coaches hard, they play hard.”
The Highlanders were short a couple of guys in their rotation, forcing Henry to switch up his lineup.
“Still, it seemed like we were missing a little bit of want-to in there,” he said. “Danner knows how to finish and we can’t seem to find him. I guess he wears an invisibility cloak.”
Henry joked that many of his team’s passes inadvertently wound up in Keeton’s possession.
“We like to pass it to Danner,” he said. “I told my boys at halftime, I know Derek has told his guys to pass it to Danner … has he told you guys to pass it to him, too? Because you guys passed it to him 84 times. He didn’t need any help but we try to help him all we can.”
“We still have to sharpen up defensively,” Newport said. “We’re relying too much on our offense. We need to have a high-octane offense and a defense that doesn’t allow people to score. If we’re going to beat (really stout teams), we have to keep their score down to one or two goals, at the most.
“But I knew Scott High has a really potent offense,” Newport added. “So we just have to tighten up a little bit.”
“I was really pleased with our offense,” Keeton said. “We moved it around very well. I thought their goalie played well. You gotta give Parra credit. He played great.”
Scott High will close out the regular season at Clinton on Thursday. The outcome of that game will determine where the two teams play Monday in the first round of the District 5-AA tournament. Oneida will face a tough Knox Central club on Thursday in a non-district matchup.