Farragut ties MHS, grabs district crown

Dillon Bihlmeyer of Farragut (12) battles a Maryville player for ball possession during this District 4-AAA regular season showdown in Blount County Thursday evening, April 26. A 1-1 tie allowed the Admirals to claim the 4-AAA regular season crown.
MARYVILLE — Farragut High School’s soccer team didn’t leave Blount County with a District 4-AAA victory Friday night, but the Admirals did return home with the regular-season championship Thursday, April 26.

“We didn’t play our best game but we won the regular-season title for the first time in six years,” FHS coach Ray Dover said after the Admirals played Maryville to a 1-1 draw on a rainy spring night at John Sevier Elementary School. “I was talking to [Rebels coach] Steve [Feather] and we won the championship on goal differential.

“We didn’t have our best game, and as time went on we went away from what we want to do. We didn’t possess the ball particularly well. But we can work on that in training.”

The Admirals (8-5-2 overall, 3-0-2 in District 4-AAA) broke out ahead early when Mohamed Mbaye tallied less than two minutes into the match. Farragut held that advantage until midway through the second half when Chatham Headrick scored the equalizer for the Rebels (10-3-2, 3-0-2).

Both sides had goals nullified due to offsides calls, Dover said.

“We had a goal called back because we were offsides and they had one called back by offsides,” Dover said.

By claiming the regular-season championship, the Admirals reaped a bevy of spoils. Farragut has home-field advantage throughout the upcoming District 4-AAA Tournament. It also has an opening-round bye and avoids a potential knockout showdown against third-seeded Hardin Valley Academy in the semifinals.

In recent years, a regular-season championship would have clinched a Region 2-AAA Tournament for the Admirals. But that went away with TSSAA re-alignment after the 2017 season.

The only thing Farragut clinched was home field throughout the district playoffs, but the Ads will gladly take that prize.

“We love to play in Farragut,” Dover said. “We want to play at home. We want to play on our field. We’ll play anybody anywhere but we love to play at home.”

The Admirals have endured an up-and-down season as they have dealt with their share of adversity, including injuries, but Dover is hoping to have his full complement of players by the time his squad opens tournament play.

“We’ve got some players back from injury and we have two more players nursing injuries,” Dover said. “We’re not fully healthy yet.”