Upper State No. 2 seed Batesburg-Leesville advanced to the third round of the Class 2A tournament Thursday with a 7-3 victory against visiting Pendleton.
From the start, the Panthers' high powered offense was on display. Carlos Hernandez notched his first of five goals for Batesburg-Leesville after two minutes of play.
"When the season first started and we were having trouble scoring, we decided we were going to take the first shot of every game, come out and be aggressive from the beginning," Panthers coach Jason Mouzon said.
By the 20th minute, Batesburg-Leesville had exposed Pendleton's defensive weakness and exploited it to the tune of a 3-0 lead.
At 26 minutes, the Panthers (17-7) made it clear they would not slow down.
Michael Oswald scored on an assist from Hernandez, hitting the right side of the goal, a trouble spot for the Bulldogs.
"No matter what the scoreboard says, my guys look at it as a 0-0 game. They are just not going to let up," Mouzon said.
Pendleton's only choice was to tighten up its defense.
When the Bulldogs started working the ball instead of just trying to stay between the Panthers and the goal, Batesburg's offense was momentarily stalled. With the pressure off its defense, Pendleton finally mounted an offense.
With six minutes to go in the first half, Donnie Brookshire led the Pendleton attack upfield. At midfield, Ricardo Rosaldo knocked the ball out to the right, and Anthony Morales pushed it into the box then scored with a strike to the middle of an open goal.
The celebration was short-lived as the Panthers struck again four minutes later. This time Hernandez crossed the top of the box and tucked a shot cleanly into the right corner, setting the halftime score at 5-1.
"We have to keep working hard the whole time, but it wasn't until we were up by like four goals that I felt a little bit comfortable," Hernandez said.
The Bulldogs added a goal on a penalty kick in the 50th minute, but Batesburg responded two minutes later as Pendleton could never close the gap.
Goals: Anthony Morales (P) 2, Carlos Hernandez (B) 5, Logan Grime (B), Myron Hardin (P), Michael Oswald (B).