By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVLLE (February 28, 2018) — For the first 26 days of February, nobody could stop Ciara Johnston from scoring.
On the 27th day, with Stephenville hosting a District 4-4A match for the first time, somebody finally did.
Who finally pulled it off?
The sophomore sensation took on a different role Tuesday, showing she can be brilliant moving the ball and setting up others for the strike home as well.
Johnston dealt three assists and five different Stephenville players put balls in the netting while at the other end all that happened was, well, nothing.
With its ninth clean sheet in a span of 10 matches, Stephenville showed Mineral Wells the gap between its Lady Rams and the top of Conference 4A is still a big strike wider than they may have thought after staying within one goal of the state champion Honeybees in their 4-4A opener three matches prior.
Tuesday was all Bees, and the stings left behind were aplenty in a 5-0 rout in which Johnston se up Cody Hawks for the first, Chaney Carrillo on the second and Brinkley Harlow to apply the fourth.
The third and fifth goals were scored by Gracie Bales and Natalie Elizondo with assists from Emily Kirbo and Haleigh Beam.
That’s eight players affecting the scoring and everyone working together to ensure not one mark was placed on the scoring sheet for the other side.
It was a statement-making performance by the champs, who are in control of 4-4A, the toughest district in the conference with teams boasting talent returning from four of the final 32 teams in 2017, as well as two of the Sweet 16 clubs and of course the conference champions.
Mineral Wells was the other team breaking through to the Sweet 16 and Region I-4A tournament last year, thanks to a big 1-0 upset in the regional quarterfinals when the Lady Rams used a heavy win and superb defense to keep Wylie off the board
And on the 28t.h day, opponents like Mineral Wells, who may have thought it was just about limiting Johnston, arel eft to realize her teammates pack plenty of sting, too, and the sophomore sensation is just as pleased to facilitate their destruction of an opposing side as she is when she’s causing that destruction directly.
Johnston and company have a chance to truly seize control over the next week, with home matches Friday and next Tuesday versus Abilene Wylie then Brownwood, who they defeated 2-1 and 1-0 in the first loop through district play.