Nick Bradford was left nearly speechless while his Hardin Valley Academy boys celebrated a monumental District 4-AAA recently.
Bradford, the Hawks first-year head coach, struggled to put his squad’s 3-2 victory over Farragut on Thursday, April 13, into words.
“This is big for us,” Bradford said after HVA shocked the Ads before a spirited crowd at Farragut Soccer Stadium. “This is the first time that we’ve ever won a game on this field and it’s been a long time coming.”
The Hawks [4-3-5 overall, 2-1-2 in the district starting the week] have had their struggles in 2017. But that all changed against the Admirals [10-3-1, 3-1 after the loss].
Hardin Valley wasted little time getting on the scoreboard at Farragut. The Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the in the fifth minute when Hutch Peter buried a shot past FHS senior goalkeeper Mitchell White.
The Ads would pull even approximately a minute later. Farragut got a goal from Pablo Herrera, a sophomore.
From there the match was a battle and Herrera would score again to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead in the 21st minute, bending the ball past the post and put it behind HVA netminder Andrew Foster.
Hardin Valley, which won just four games last season after reaching the Class AAA state semifinals in 2015, pulled even when K.C. Rittenberry tallied making it 2-2 in the 28th minute.
The Hawks took a 3-2 lead in the 35th when Heath Martin scored what would be the game-winning marker.
“This feels great,” Foster said. “This was a big win for us and this is a fun rivalry.
“Coming in off last year, I knew things might be a little tough. And I think some of the other guys might’ve thought so too. But [Bradford] told us to keep battling and we did. It all paid off,” Foster added.
“We played well tonight and they did too,” Bradford said. “Farragut has been a force in soccer for years and they still are. They have nothing to hang their heads about.
“We got it done tonight and this was a great game with good soccer on both sides.”
Herrera was holding back tears after the game but said that, while the loss stung, the Admirals still have high hopes for the campaign.
“We had a bad first half and we just couldn’t recover,” he said. “This is tough but we just have to pick our heads up. ...”
Dover took the blame. “This is on me,” he said. “It’s on me because I have to do a better job putting my guys in position to succeed. We tightened some things up after halftime and I think they only had one shot [the break]. We’ll be fine. ...”