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Tennessee ‘Teams of the Decade’
Soccer Ads top Bruins for 4th title of 2000s

Carlos Ramos gets control of the ball for Admirals soccer against Brentwood.- Dan Barile/farragutpress
MURFREESBORO — Team of the Decade in boys soccer, Class AAA, for the first 10 years of the new millennium was perhaps crowned Saturday evening in Murfreesboro.

As first reported at Farragut First Edition, May 23, Farragut, three-time state champ since 2003, jumped ahead early against perennial state power Brentwood, defending state champ.

The end result was all navy blue.

Led by a defense that allowed only one post-season goal, the Admirals won its fourth state title this decade, cruising in a dominant 2-0 victory performance at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex May 23.

“This year I had an unusual amount of kids who stepped up and played at a much higher level than I or the other coaches thought they could,” said FHS head coach Wallie Culbreth, whose Admirals end 22-2-2. “It’s terribly rewarding.”

The team surprised many in local high school soccer circles by winning it all with limited experience and only two starting seniors — one out due to illness late in the season. Brentwood ends with an 18-5-3 record.

Defensively, “This defense is good, and the greatest thing is I get every one of ’em back next year,” Culbreth said. Leading that defense is sweeper and captain Nick Muth along with Wayman McLaughlin and Kendrick Schuettler.

Schuettler said, “Our defense is pretty strong … we play together really well. … when we step it up not much can get by.”

Muth said, “The whole year we were fired up about how we were underdogs the entire season. So we fed off that energy the entire season because everyone underestimated us. So we always wanted to come out big in big games.”

About his seniors, led by standout senior midfielder Trevor Grieco, Culbreth said, “Every kid contributed something. I had three, Adam Prosise, Ian Templeton and Will Dallery, that were a good part of the team. And Angus [MacLellan] came on at the end and played like a champion, and so did Kellen [Catani].”

Grieco said the state crown “is an awesome feeling. Definitely owe it to our junior class, they stepped up big. They were the key to our season, I feel.”

Against Brentwood, “We came out here ready to play, and we knew we could put it away,” Grieco added.

Ryan Stinton headed home a rebound shot, a Carlos Ramos attempt that hit the crossbar, from about three yards out with 33:38 left in the first half.

Stinton said, “Early goals are big for us because we know our defense is a great defense, one of the best in the state.”

Around eight minutes later, the Admirals struck again. Following a Grieco throw-in, Brandon Klarner took a rebounded shot attempt from Marshall Ishmael and stuck home the second goal from about eight yards out. It was 2-0 Admirals at the 25:31 mark.

“Once we got up 2-0, we made a few adjustments to make it harder for them to penetrate us. And they never did,” Culbreth said. “That was our goal, to get on top of them because we knew we could come back, we didn’t think they could. And so we went after them.”

As champs, Klarner said, “It’s just amazing, nobody expected it at the beginning of the season and we proved everybody wrong.”

Steven Matlock, FHS junior goalkeeper, turned back the best Bruins scoring attempt in the second half with a diving stop of an inside-the-box shot. “Steven stepped in and did a really good job,” Culbreth said.

Grieco added it was “defense, Matlock, shutouts everywhere. It’s insane.”

Matlock said, “I know I have 20-some guys in front of me that can do the job. I couldn’t ask for a better team … they all have great passion. That’s what can carry a good team that can go far.”

Having not recovered from contracting food poisoning Friday afternoon, Culbreth still managed to make Saturday’s title game with the help of assistant coaches Kurt Backstrom and Bradley Culbreth.

“I couldn’t even get my head off the pillow [Friday], but I promised these kids, for them to never give in, and I couldn’t give in today,” he said. “Cause I really felt like not getting out of that bed. But I promised them I wouldn’t quit, and they didn’t.”

Shea Beltran, senior starting goalkeeper who contracted mononucleosis late in the season, and the Culbreth-dubbed “super sub” forward, John Jester, are the other FHS seniors ending their careers with a state crown.


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