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Doyle again a ’Dawg thorn in 3-1 4-AAA title win

Who else but Aaron Doyle to put the “finishing kick” on a Farragut victory against Bearden. And Doyle’s head — broken nose and all — played a role, too.

Having done in the Bulldogs in two sports — not to forget his last-second field-goal to beat BHS in football last fall — Doyle continued to live up to his “Bearden killer” reputation during the District 4-AAA Tournament championship game Friday at Farragut Stadium.

Doyle broke a 1-1 tie with a laser-shot from about 30 yards out that, despite being deflected by a Bearden defender, still wound up in the goal for a 2-1 FHS lead with 18:15 to play in the second half.

Less than two minutes later, the talented senior midfielder went against “orders” and despite a fractured nose went in and headed in a second goal following a 30-yard throw-in from Bryan Hill.

Holding on to win 3-1, the state’s No. 1-ranked Ads improved their record to 18-2.

“The nose is just a little banged up, just sore right now,” Doyle said. “The doctor never called me back, so I guess its good news, just a fracture not a full break. I’m not going up for headers as much as I usually do.”

As for his final goal, “I was basically hanging back for the trash, and I realized that some of the guys on Bearden were pushed up a little too far, and I know Bryan’s got a good arm on him,” Doyle said. “He winged that in, and I just happened to be there to put it in.”

FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth recalls a conversation with Doyle. “He said, ‘coach, if it gets close I’ve got to do it,’” Culbreth said.

“But I lost Kirk Ruoff ... he’s been my best defender other than Bryan (Hill),” the coach added about a leg injury Ruoff suffered in the first half.

Ruoff is expected to be out until a possible trip to Memphis, as the Ads are one win away from returning to defend their Class AAA state title. Farragut was expected to beat Powell Tuesday and host the Bearden-Oak Ridge winner Thursday at 7 p.m. Regardless of Thursday’s winner, a sectional win Saturday earns a trip to Memphis.

The No. 7 state-ranked SoccerDawgs (13-6-1 record) had to win against the No. 5 Wildcats at ORHS Tuesday or their season was over.


As for dominating the second half, “we’re a second-half team,” Culbreth said. “You look at our scores, some people play us even in the first half. But if you don’t get ahead of me, you ain’t going to beat us.”

Culbreth also praised Daniel Hinman for “an excellent game” and Jared Britcher “for his unselfishness of going back and playing sweeper.”

Britcher, a talented forward who has also seen midfield work, ended up as a key defender Friday. “He’s my best all-around player,” Culbreth said, adding that he didn’t know where the versatile senior would be playing in future games.

“And of course, Aaron. Austin Rhoades did a good job, too,” the coach added. “He got our first goal the other night, and he got our first goal tonight. Austin gets confidence as he does something like that, so I’m always glad when he scores an early goal.”


But Bearden tied the game 1-1 after Todd Vinsant’s free kick from 30-yards out rebounded off FHS goalkeeper Tony Milazzo to Ryan Radcliffe, who put in the tying shot from five yards out with less than two minutes left in the first half.

“I felt real good at half, we thought we had ’em, we thought we had a good first half with them,” BHS head coach Eric Turner said. “But then Farragut kind of took it to us in the second half.”

As for Bryan Walker’s effort in goal for BHS, “he had a great game,” Turner said. “Even on the first goal they scored on, he made the save and then a rebound ... our defense wasn’t there to help out.”

Turner also praised Vinsant’s play on defense.


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