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Bowman, Baker, DeFreitas leaders among strong Warriors senior class tasting glory again

MEMPHIS — One “non Farragut” school took up residence in Repeat State Title City Saturday afternoon.

Christian Academy of Knoxville, looking to give more legitimacy to its 2003 Class A/AA state soccer crown, used Bennet Giles’ eventual game-winning goal to break a 1-1 tie early in the second half and beat district rival Lenoir City 2-1 in the state title game at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.

“Last year people might have said that we kind of skated to the finals because we were in a relatively easy bracket,” the coach said. “But we faced (Franklin Road Academy) in the very first (state tourney) game, who was ranked number one, and they hadn’t let five goals in the entire year.” CAK won 3-1.

Comparing the two state titles, “the first one was, of course, the sweetest because it was the first,” Gerlach said. “But the second one showed that it wasn’t a fluke (in 2003).

As for Giles game-winning goal, “It was a gorgeous goal,” Gerlach said.

The Warriors end 2004 with an 18-4-1 record.

As for the biggest key to repeating as state champs, “playing with a united purpose,” Gerlach said. “We lost five starters from last year but we had a deep bench. Our game style was better this year because we’ve got a lot more passers. The guys stepped up and did an awesome job.

“Not many schools can do it back-to-back,” Gerlach added. “I’m glad the two best teams in the state were playing in the state finals. It was a great match. When you have the caliber of players that are on CAK, and the passion and camaraderie that these guys have, it makes me look good.”

Gerlach praised many of his senior leaders, including goalie Mark Baker for being “just huge in goal.” Forward Jason Bowman, who scored four goals in a 7-0 semifinal win against Sheffield and the game’s first goal Saturday, “is somebody with a nose for the goal,” the coach said.

Left halfback Nathan DeFreitas “is so vital for our attack down the flanks,” Gerlach added. “And Timmy Poore, with height at sweeper, and his height for attacking, he had three offensive headers. They’ll all be hard to replace.”

The Warrior skipper was especially happy for Matt Murrill, a forward who missed last season’s post-season play after breaking his foot just prior to the district tournament. “This year he gets on the field and he gave eighty minutes of everything,” Gerlach said.


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