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SoccerDawgs drill FHS for Region 2-AAA crown, then cruise on to state

Combining for a 7-0 margin of victory in its region and sectional championships, Bearden’s No. 8 state-ranked SoccerDawgs entered this week’s Class AAA state tourney in Murfreesboro with heavy momentum.

“We’re clicking at the right time right now,” senior Khader Hamdallah said when looking ahead to state after a 4-0 win against Morristown West in sectional play Saturday evening, May 20, at BHS’s Bruce Allender Field.

That came two days after its third trip to Farragut this season resulted in a dominating 3-0 victory in the Region 2-AAA finals May 18. More on these BHS victories later in this story.

Perhaps Bearden (15-5-3) would need major momentum, playing the state’s top-ranked team, Brentwood (21-0-1), in the opening round of the state tourney Wednesday (after press deadline).

A victory against Brentwood would push the SoccerDawgs into the state semifinals tonight at 7 p.m. CDT against the Ooltewah (16-4-2) versus Ridgeway (9-5-0) game at Field No. 1 of the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.

The championship game is set for 5 p.m. CDT, Saturday, at the complex and will involve one of four teams from the other side of the bracket: Farragut, Houston, Riverdale or Hendersonville.


Bearden broke on top seven minutes into the game with a header goal from Phillip Andreae on a corner kick from Hamdallah.

Though most of the Trojans’ best scoring chances came midway into the first half, the game stayed 1-0 until the 17-minute mark of the second 40 minutes.

Goalkeeper Bryan Walker, in goal for the region and sectional shutouts, fired a long pass downfield to a streaking Rico Carter, who beat the defense and the charging goalie to the ball, tapping in BHS’s second goal for a 2-0 lead.

About four-and-a-half minutes later, Bearden all but ended the issue. Carter controlled a pass in the box without the ball hitting the ground, firing a pass to Nathan Zivi who beat the goalkeeper to the right from eight yards out.

The final goal came when Ryan Radcliffe controlled a pass in the box under pressure and fed an open Alex Widmer, who scored from six yards out with 8:22 left.


Ending with an 8-3 edge in shots-on-goal, the Bulldogs finally broke through against its archrival after two losses to Farragut this season, both at Bill Clabo Field that included a 2-1 loss in the District 4-AAA tourney final a week earlier.

Bearden’s Jay Lutz provided the first half’s only goal, punching in a shot from about 12-yards out in traffic at the 26-minute mark.

“We came out really hard, I think we caught them on their heels,” Lutz said. “It turned out pretty good for us.”

Two minutes into the second half, BHS failed to convert a golden opportunity when Carter beat FHS goalkeeper Tony Milazzo to the ball, but Carter’s shot was deflected away by Dylan Whitman just inches from crossing the goal-line.

From the 30-minute to the 20-minute mark, Carter and Farragut’s Joseph Muth both missed short shot attempts, Muth’s a header off a corner kick.

But with 5:40 to play, Carter’s pass in the box to a trailing Tom Webster resulted in a goal from 10-yards out, making it 2-0. “We didn’t want to lose three games in a row to them,” Webster said.

Andrew Hinkle added insurance with a goal from 16-yards out with 3:20 to play.

“It’s one of the best feelings, to come out and beat Farragut in a regional championship,” Hinkle said. “No words can describe it, it’s a great feeling.”


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