By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA – The Charlotte High School boys soccer team peaked in the first minute of its District 4A-11 soccer match against Venice.
But it was all downhill from there for the Tarpons. Meanwhile, Indian senior captain John Gokey spent the whole game as if he was running downhill.
Gokey scored six goals — five in the first half — and added an assist as Venice blew out Charlotte 10-2 in a game that ended in the 70th minute by the mercy rule.
Venice coach Peter Tomich made a decision to move Gokey from center-mid to center forward, which paid huge dividends.
“I give credit to Charlotte. They came out and put the effort in. We just overpowered them as the game went on,” Tomich said. “I had a feeling John would be best served as an attacking center forward and he got some good service from the midfielders.”
“We just came out and worked. We needed to make a statement because finals are coming up, so we needed to get as many goals as we could to get ahead of Palmetto,” Gokey said. “We just did our jobs.”
The Indians (11-1-2, 6-1-1) started a little flatfooted as the Tarpons surprised them with a quick goal 30 seconds in from Donal Rateau, giving Charlotte the early lead.
Venice woke up quickly and the avalanche soon began. Gokey tied the game on a nice pass from Andre Streich in the 10th minute and had a nice individual effort in avoiding several Tarpon defenders to score again and give Venice the lead for good six minutes later.
Gokey completed the natural hat trick in the 22nd minute, and even though Charlotte closed the lead to one on a Michael Modlasiak goal moments later, it didn’t stop the Indians as they had an amazing 13-0 edge in corner kicks and 28-5 in shots over Charlotte (2-10, 1-6).
Gokey scored twice more before Austin Moulton got in the act for the first of his two goals for a 6-2 Venice lead at the half.
Streich, Moulton and Matthew Rosenthal added second half goals along with Gokey, who started to facilitate after his sixth goal three minutes into the second half, raising his goal total to 19 on the season.
Charlotte coach Alex Lebeau thought he had something at the start of the game, but the Tarpons didn’t build on it.
“We did exactly what we planned to do at the start, which is attack at the whistle. It was almost like it was too good to be true,” Lebeau said. “We didn’t know what to do next. Maybe they woke up, but we definitely went to sleep after that.”