Farragut High School boys soccer coach Ray Dover had a simple but stern message for his squad before it embarked on the 2016 District 4-AAA Tournament Monday night.
“I told the boys that we had to continue to get better and we had to continue to move forward,” Dover said after the third-seeded Admirals posted a 6-1 victory over Heritage at Farragut Soccer Stadium. “I told them to play every game like it’s their last.”
Dover must have gotten
his message across because Farragut (11-4-3) responded with a four-goal outburst in the first half.
The Admirals took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute as Zach Humphries; one of Farragut’s seniors tallied the first marker of the match.
Humphries said that it was important for the Admirals to get off to a fast start against the sixth-seeded Mountaineers (5-11-3).
“Last time that we played them the game wasn’t all that good for us,” Humphries said. “We did hit the post several times tonight, but I think, overall, that our finishes were all pretty good.
“Last time we played, it didn’t turn out all that well. Tonight, we got a better result. We got the result that we wanted.”
Farragut notched a 4-1 win over Heritage in the regular-season meeting between the two schools on March 29.
Things were a bit different for the Admirals this time. Farragut erupted for three more goals in the first half.
Alex Shupp, a senior and Xavier signee, tallied the second marker of the match in the 19th minute.
Farragut scored its four goals on nine shots in the opening 40 minutes and Shupp said that the effort culminated a week of practice.
“We had our shooting touch tonight,” Shupp said. “We practiced our shots in practice.
“We’ve been doing a lot of shooting.”
The Admirals took a 3-0 lead on a marker by Jake Cole in the 37th minute before Farragut’s Brad Baker tallied in the waning seconds of the opening half.
Dover said he was pleased with his squad’s effort in the opening round of the district tournament.
“The big thing is that you have to come out with more intensity than your opponent and tonight, we did that,” Dover said. “You have to come out here wanting it and we did that.
“For us, it’s all about intensity, attitude and work ethic. I told the guys that if we had the intensity, the work ethic and attitude, then we would be okay.”
Dover, Farragut’s first-year head coach, said that his squad has handled the coaching change well.
“They’re hearing this from a different voice after 14 years,” said Dover, who replaced longtime coach Wallie Culbreth this season. “It’s been a transition for them but they’ve handled it pretty well. They’ve done good with it.”
Heritage scored first after halftime. The Mountaineers pulled to within 4-1 when senior Hunter Moreland headed the ball past Farragut senior goalkeeper Eli Lewis and into the back of the Admirals’ net in the 56th minute.
FHS gave its reserves some playing time after the intermission and the youngsters scored two goals. Dillon Bihlmeyer extended the home side’s advantage to 5-1 with his marker in the 66th minute.
Mohamed Mbaye scored the match’s final goal about 10 minutes later.
It was a historic campaign for the Mountaineers. Heritage played 2015 Class AAA State semifinalist Hardin Valley Academy to a 1-1 draw recently but the season ended on a bit of a sour note according to coach Nick Bradford.
“This was a setback for us,” Bradford said. “I don’t think this game defines our season.
“The game started fine. The first 10 minutes were our best tonight.”