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‘Oak Ridge assassin’ Doyle, seniors propel Admirals to 5-0 win to seize State Championship repeat


MEMPHIS — It’s no wonder why Aaron Doyle is labeled the “Oak Ridge assassin.”

His nine soccer goals scored in three games against the powerful ORHS Wildcats — including the first two in Saturday’s Class AAA state championship game — were the biggest offensive reason Farragut won its second straight boys high school soccer state title.


“Aaron has just worn Oak Ridge out this year,” FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth said about his star midfielder. “They mark him and they still can’t hold him. He’s an All-American in the truest sense of the word.”

But it’s also much more than just Doyle from a deep and talented FHS Class of 2004 that said goodbye to Admiral Country with a two-year record of 49-3-0 and 24-2-0 this season. That includes a No. 2 final national ranking in 2003 by StudentSports.

Is this FHS senior class the best ever in the program’s history? “Without a doubt, this is probably the best senior class ever,” Culbreth said. “When (Spencer) Bobrowski was in there, I wouldn’t even sweat in games. This senior class is outstanding. I lost some great kids last year, but as an overall class this class has been dominating since they were freshmen ... when they came through as freshmen they were whipping the JV team every time.”

Doyle joins fellow captains Bryan Hill — a stopper who earned the team’s most valuable player award — and sweeper Jared Britcher — who Culbreth labeled as his most versatile player — to lead FHS through its dominating regular season and playoff run.

And that doesn’t even count the inactive captain, Bobrowski. All he did last year as a forward was provide vital leadership and goal-scoring punch equal to Doyle’s as the Admirals beat Bearden in overtime to win its first state crown. Bobrowski was eventually lost to a pre-season ACL tear despite playing about half the season with the injury.

“Spencer (Bobrowski) is not like losing one person, he’s like losing three or four,” Culbreth said. “Spencer was the quarterback and the talker of the team, and without Spencer there was a lull there for a while. But Spencer’s been a great cheerleader on the sidelines.”

But the other captains grew into their roles as true leaders according to Culbreth.

“They really came to be captains during this playoffs,” the coach said. “They made the guys commit themselves, they were on their backs, they were big-time captains.”

In addition to his keen defensive instincts, Hill’s strong throw-in abilities provided many key assists throughout the playoff season and accounted for two of Farragut first three goals Saturday at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis. Britcher provided an assist plus a goal from 19 yards out — on a perfectly-placed direct kick — in addition to his defensive prowess at sweeper.

Senior Johnathan McCauley, the team’s “12th Man Award” winner, knocked home Farragut’s third goal Saturday with a perfectly-placed header from 15 yards out that beat the ORHS goalie on the right side.

“I think he was the best player on the field today,” Culbreth said. “He’s my twelveth man, I put him everywhere.” Moments later Culbreth hollered to McCauley, “I think you played a great game.”

“Johnathan was Mr. Hustle today, and he wanted to win this game more than anything,” Culbreth said.

In addition, “I think Bret Vukoder and Jared Britcher stepped up real big today,” Culbreth added about two of his top senior defenders.

Britcher was a forward on last season’s state title team who has played the midfield before being moved to sweeper late in the season. “Jared, he’s such a great player, we decided if we could stop everybody from scoring, we could still score,” the coach said. “I put him back there and he stepped up big-time.”

Vukoder said this season state title “is just sweeter that it was last year, we worked so hard this year and I think we had less talent this year, I think,” Vukoder said. “We came together as a team, played hard and we came out strong this whole tournament, and it was awesome.

“Spencer was a key part to this team, but some guys just stepped up big-time this tournament,” Vukoder added. “We’re all friends after this tournament, and I don’t think it could be any better than this, it’s so sweet. To end on top, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”

OTHER KEY SENIORS

Senior midfielder Daniel Hinman has won special praise from Culbreth in recent weeks for his stellar play. Senior Adam Parsons capped his career with an “icing on the cake” goal with under two minutes to play Saturday.

Seniors Jonathan Riner and Corey Stinton were also key contributors throughout the season.

Yet another key senior, starting defender Mikey Boza, perhaps summed it up best in the minutes following Farragut’s repeat state title effort: “All the seniors poured their hearts into this game, and we came out awesome.”

 

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