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Gibbs connection comes through as Fort Zumwalt South blanks Francis Howell

Gibbs connection comes through as Fort Zumwalt South blanks Francis Howell

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Francis Howell at Fort Zumwalt South boys soccer

Fort Zumwalt South forward Ryley Gibbs (left) and Francis Howell defender Aiden Morgan go flying after colliding while chasing a loose ball. Fort Zumwalt South hosted Francis Howell in boys soccer on Thursday September 3, 2020. Tim Vizer/Special to

ST. PETERS — Through one week of the high school soccer season, Ryley Gibbs is glad he made the decision he did.

A prolific club player, Gibbs chose to break away from a Scott Gallagher Academy team to play with his brother, senior Karson Gibbs, at Fort Zumwalt South.

The tandem is paying immediate dividends.

In Zumwalt South's 4-0 victory over visiting Francis Howell, Karson Gibbs scored twice — with both assists belonging to his brother — and Ryley Gibbs added a goal of his own.

“I grew up watching Karson play and at first I didn't want to play high school, I wanted to stick with Gallagher,” Ryley Gibbs said. “I got here and things have gone real well. It's been fun.”

The fun started for Zumwalt South (3-0, No. 5 in the large-schools rankings) when Karson Gibbs took a through ball from his brother and scored just 80 seconds into the game.

The family connection is something Karson Gibbs is fully glad to exploit, he said.

“It's been just so great to be working together with my brother,” Karson said. “We have a lot of talented guys on this team and it's amazing that we get to do this together. We have this connection. We usually know what the other is going to do, and that's something you don't usually get with someone you don't know as well.”

With nine minutes left in the first half, Ryley Gibbs wove his way through the Howell defense and buried a shot to make it 2-0.

Zumwalt South coach Jim Layne also noted junior midfielder Brendan Owens, who scored to make it 3-0 in the 60th minute, as part of the team's deep scoring options.

“Usually, we've played defensive soccer real well and we've had one guy who led the way for our offense,” Layne said. “Now, we've got a real deep club when it comes to our offense. We've got several guys who we can turn to to score goals. Add that to a good group of guys who are playing solid defensive soccer and things are going really well for us so far.”

Karson Gibbs finished off the scoring with seven minutes left as his fourth goal of the season made it 4-0.

Howell (1-1, No. 4 large-schools) had a handful of chances, most notably when junior Nick Taylor pinged the post on a free kick in the 12th minute.

“We just, kind of, got outsmarted and outworked at times tonight,” Howell coach Michael Enright said. “We played well in patches, we just didn't get anything together. They exploited us when we weren't smart enough and when we didn't work hard enough. It's early yet and we can learn from this.”

Freshman goalkeeper Evan Baisch replaced senior Luke Dillon, who left the game in the first half with what Layne termed a deep thigh bruise, and he earned the shutout and Layne's praises.

“This is his first varsity action,” Layne said. “He's with us for exactly what happened tonight and he played very well and got the job done. That's all we can ask him to do.”

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