West’s season ends in Class AAA Sectional round
Morristown West’s Matt Sawyer (8) battles two Farragut players during Saturday’s Class AAA Sectional match in Knoxville. Farragut won 4-1, ending the season for the Trojans with a 13-7-3 record.
KNOXVILLE — The road to the state tournament in boy’s soccer has gone through the Farragut Admirals for decades and that was who stood in the way of the Morristown West Trojans’ march towards Murfreesboro in Saturday’s Class AAA Sectional match.
The Trojans’ loss to Science Hill in the Region 1-AAA final meant they had to face the Admirals on their home field which is never an easy task for visiting teams. West played hard throughout the contest but in the end, Farragut picked up the win as they advanced to next week’s state tournament with a 4-1 victory.
The Trojans end their season with a 13-6-3 mark.
West goalkeeper Chandler Townsend was the big story of the game, as he had nine saves for the Trojans. Townsend’s prowess in goal was evidenced by two saves he made where it appeared the Admirals had sure goals in the span of about 20 seconds in the second half.
West coach Todd Bradley said his keeper turned in an impressive performance.
“Chandler is a great keeper and he has proven that over this year,” Bradley said. “He gets better every year and works very hard in practice but when you have that many shots on you, something is going to give and there’s nothing else he could do.”
The Admirals outshot West 8-1 in the first half, but the Trojans were more aggressive in the second half as they had only two less shots on goal than the home team.
“We changed things up attitude-wise in the second half in terms of how we were playing,” Bradley said.
“Once we went down a goal, we realized we would have to come out of our shell a little bit. All props to Farragut as they did an excellent job of finishing when they needed to finish. Our guys had a great game but when it came down to it, Farragut was just the better team.”
Farragut struck first when Tyler Klarner made a sliding kick for a goal off a loose ball that appeared Townsend had saved when Dami Omitaomu missed in front of the net with 2:35 remaining in the first half. The Admirals led 1-0 going to intermission.
West was the aggressor for most of the start of the second half. But Farragut found an opening when Paul Hopson connected with Johnny Totten for a goal from the right side to put the home team up 2-0.
Omitaomu got loose down the left side and his quickness allowed him to find the back of the net only five minutes later to give the Admirals a 3-0 lead. Farragut extended the lead to a commanding 4-0 advantage when Gabe Parish flicked the ball in from the left side late in the game.
The Trojans never lost their intensity, however, and kept up the aggressive style of play and it eventually paid off. With less that five minutes to go in the game Jeremiah Esparza made a pass to Ike Hunsucker who beat Farragut keeper Eli Lewis after he had come too far out of the net to try and make a save.
“Ike showed again why he is one of the best forwards in the state,” Bradley said of Hunsucker’s goal. “He keeps scoring goals no matter what and he had a great game today. My guys worked very hard and had a great season. I can’t be more proud of them.”
-By Marlin Curnutt, Tribune Correspondent