BONNE TERRE – With his team already staked to a four-goal advantage just before halftime, Bryce Sancegraw had the luxury of invoking even more creative license than usual.
The Farmington all-state senior added another highlight to his decorated high school soccer career in the 39th minute with a sensational one-touch and bicycle kick that zipped beneath the crossbar.
Sancegraw tallied twice more in the second half to finish with four goals overall, and the Knights rolled past overmatched rival North County 8-0 on Tuesday.
Perryville transfer Cole Gerstenberger connected twice on early set pieces, Tristan Stotler and Kody Winch also scored and Farmington (4-2) generated 19 shots overall.
The contest technically served as a rematch of last year’s Class 3, District 1 final, but the defending champion Raiders have since renovated their lineup due to heavy graduation turnover.
The Knights conversely returned nearly all of their scoring punch this season, and imposed their will right away by controlling possession in the offensive third.
Sancegraw disrupted a pass within the opening 30 seconds to create the first of seven corner kicks. North County keeper Shelby Lee secured a solid redirection by Gerstenberger.
Farmington continued to threaten, however, and soon decided the outcome by producing four goals within a stretch of 10 minutes, 15 seconds.
Gatlin Roberts earned the next corner with a run down the left side, and Gerstenberger headed the ball toward the foot of nearby teammate Winch for an easy finish in the 10th minute.
Gerstenberger fired home a rebound after Winch challenged Lee in the air without being marked, then buried another header on a corner from Roberts to make it 3-0.
Raiders captain David Banales slowed Sancegraw with help during their most recent encounter, but obstructed his progress in the 20th minute Tuesday, resulting in a converted penalty kick.
North County (2-4) released five shots overall, but nothing from the middle of the box where Max Reid anchored the Farmington back line.
Chad Silvey had his shutout bid severely tested just once, and made a reaching save while sliding in the 31st minute as streaking Landon Kater tried to poke a quick shot inside the near post.
Sancegraw left his ultimate stamp on the action eight minutes later with pinpoint coordination when Stolter reversed directions on the dribble and directed a bouncing cross his way.
Sancegraw gently volleyed the pass straight up from his knee, and flung himself upward to meet the overhead strike with plenty of velocity.
The stunning maneuver sent a 5-0 spread to halftime, and the Knights needed less than two minutes to resume scoring off a counter attack.
Chase Gollaher recovered to break up a run by North County sophomore Brandt Vickers, and Charles Bequette found Stotler ahead for a 30-yard shot that found the mark.
Vickers ignited a premium chance for the Raiders after drawing a crowd in the 59th minute. He turned and found a trailer, but the ensuing drive carried wide.
Sancegraw earned the hat trick by sprinting past a defender and sliding a rolling touch between Lee and the opposite post. Roberts earned his third assist as the margin climbed to 7-0.
Stotler made an unselfish feed to Sancegraw with only the keeper to beat for his fourth goal of the game and 11th on the season with 31 seconds left to play.
No cards were issued on 17 total fouls, and the clock never stopped for an injury situation as physical tackles or collisions were kept to a minimum.
Silvey recorded three saves, and smothered a dangerous cross early on for Farmington when the score was still 3-0.
Lee compiled nine saves in defeat. North County had two corner attempts, but both carried through the box without being deflected.