BONNE TERRE – After a couple of early crossing threats failed to connect inside the box, North County senior Grant Stauser saw an opportunity to strike from long distance.
His pinpoint accuracy from about 33 yards away on Wednesday evening set the tone for a dominant performance by the Raiders on their home pitch.
Landon Kater tallied two goals for the second straight night, and the Raiders outshot Fredericktown 25-5, unofficially, during a convincing 5-0 triumph.
Daniel Black netted a header for insurance in the 77th minute, and keeper Shelby Lee made three saves to shut out the foiled Blackcats.
North County (4-2) applied extra pressure with its midfielders often pushing forward, and defender Musse Dunlap also joined the rush at times by dribbling deep when making steals.
The Raiders produced nine shots within the first 19 minutes, even as Fredericktown (3-4) prevented dangerous balls from Brandt Vickers and Peyton Cheek from reaching their intended targets.
Blackcats goalie Levi Robinson was tested from the outset, stopping 10 shots in defeat, andwas caught standing near the front of the box on the initial goal.
Vickers, whose timely marker in double overtime capped a thrilling 3-2 victory over Farmington on Tuesday, was able to regain possession and find Strauser isolated in the 14th minute.
Strauser had ample time to settle and step into a drive that dipped just beneath the crossbar before Robinson could fully retreat.
He would notch a second goal 48 seconds into the second half, finishing a strong left-side run as Kater feathered a diagonal pass through the defense.
Fredericktown hoped to negate the North County spacing and skill with sudden counter attacks, and nearly squared the match in the 18th.
Grant Shankle broke free and darted toward the left post, but Lee cut down the angle and slapped his low shot away to maintain the 1-0 lead.
Bryan Basinger won a 50-50 ball near the sideline to spark the Raiders before halftime. His resulting cross carried beyond any teammate, but the Blackcats had nobody in the vicinity to clear.
Basinger turned with possession again after racing across to the right side, and zipped a pass through the penalty area that Kater redirected along the back post for a 2-0 cushion.
Fredericktown tried to claw back from its three-goal hole after intermission, but could only generate one shot in a 30-minute stretch.
Three Raiders converged to block the path of Patrick Sikes, who displayed balance and handling prowess while picking his way through congestion near the sideline.
Shankle was nearly sprung for another partial break, but Lee sprinted out to make a sliding cover on the bouncing feed before his arrival.
Robinson made a superb save to his right as Vickers slid a diagonal ball to Jon Redding on the run, but North County would solidify two more tallies in the closing moments.
Black made it 4-0 with a header from 10 yards out that had caromed off multiple players and popped into the air. He then assisted the second Strauser goal with 44 seconds to play.
North County earned eight corners overall, and arguably should have been awarded a penalty kick amid a dicey situation in the 56th minute.
Strauser was tackled from behind by Levi Burns near the goal line after getting past a fallen Robinson, but no foul was called as the ball slowly trickled wide of the left post.