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FHS takes round 2 — region rematch tonight?
Ads whip SoccerDawgs for 4-AAA tourney title

It has become a West Knoxville tradition. For the eighth consecutive year Bearden has played Farragut for the District 4-AAA boys soccer tournament championship. Lightning delayed the game’s start 95 minutes, but when play got underway Farragut avenged its regular season loss to the defending Class AAA state champion SoccerDawgs with a 3-1 win Friday, May 11, at BHS’s Bruce Allender Field.

Bearden and Farragut both advanced to Region 2-AAA semifinal play Tuesday, May 15 (after press deadline). Bearden traveled to West and FHS hosted Karns.

If both BHS and Farragut win, they’ll play at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday, May 17) in the region finals at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field. Sectional showdowns are Saturday, May 19, with state tourney action in Murfreesboro set to begin Wednesday, May 23, at Richard Siegel Park.

Farragut’s Jake Russell scored the game’s first goal on a rebound from his missed penalty kick with 21:06 left in the first half. Bearden goalkeeper Bryan Walker guessed right and blocked the penalty kick, but Russell was there to knock in the rebound.

With 11:53 remaining in the half, Will Beuerlein gave the Admirals (14-2-4) a 2-0 lead with a goal past a diving Walker into the right side of the goal.

“We worked all week long on trying to get ahead and make them chase us,” FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth said. “It paid off.”

Bearden (21-2-0) cut the deficit when Tom Webster found Farragut keeper Adam Greene out of position and headed an easy goal into the net with 4:22 left in the half.

“These guys have been down before,” BHS head coach Eric Turner said about his team. “They are just used to pulling them out.

“Today gave us a dose of reality, but when they’ve got as many future Division-One players as they have, we are just happy to hang in there and beat them when we can.”

The Bulldogs had several chances in both the first and second halves to score goals but couldn’t capitalize.

“We had what we wanted,” Turner said. “We had our forwards one-on-one with their defenders and evidently their defenders are better than our forwards.”

Farragut’s Ben Backstrom sealed the game at the 3:35 mark of the second half with a goal to the near post.

“Jake Russell passed it back to the top of the box, and I was going across and I saw their goalie [Walker] going back post. And when it went in I knew we were going to win for sure,” Backstrom said. “This is the game you always want to play your best in, you are always hyped for this game and after last time we really wanted to get a ‘W’ against them [3-2 regular season loss].”

Turner said, “They just shut down our attack today no doubt about it. They are clearly the better team, and hopefully we will rebound and be ready to go Tuesday.”

Last season Bearden won the region championship against FHS on its way to a third state championship. The two have met in seven of the last eight region finals.

“You can’t knock two programs like this,” Culbreth said. “Five out of the last six years one us of has been the state champion and right now we are considered the two best teams in the state.

“Maybe we will bring it home six out of seven. That’s our intention: to bring it back to Knoxville.”


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