Soccer Ads’ late corner-kick goal edges Hardin Valley for district tourney crown
Until the game’s final 15 minutes, it seemed like business as usual when Farragut boys soccer suceeds: sound defense, solid goalkeeping and midfield play and the chemistry of senior standout forwards Timi Omitaomu and Jake Lowe — they’ve played together each year since age 6 — producing goals.
Two Omitaomu assists setting up Lowe for a pair of goals put the Admirals up 2-0 — but rival Hardin Valley answered twice in slightly more than five minutes late, tying things on a goal from freshman Brady Hammer, assisted by sophomore Robbin Castillo, in the 73rd minute.
But Admirals senior Jake Skipper saved the day in the 75th minute, scoring off “the back of the head” on a corner kick, which gave Farragut a 3-2 win and the District 4-AAA Tournament title Friday evening, May 14, in Farragut Soccer Stadium.
“It was just a great kick to me, and I went for it and it happened — it was all a blur … I went up for it and it went in. … It hit me in like the back of the head,” Skipper said. “We played hard tonight and we didn’t give up.”
In praising HVA for its comeback, FHS head coach Bradley Culbreth said, “Nothing but respect for the way Jessie (Stephens) runs that program. … Hardin Valley players and coaches, they gave us all we wanted.”
Back-up FHS goalkeeper Righter Cressman, replacing injured senior starter Max Kaplan, played despite dealing with “a broken hand he’s had all year,” Culbreth said. “With his attitude and his character, he stepped up.
“I told him before the game: ‘son, if you give up five goals and we lose, no one is going to point a finger at you,’” he added. “Just come and do you, that’s all I’m asking.”
Culbreth also singled out Reuben Margulies, FHS senior midfielder. “He put his heart on the field tonight, and we needed it, 100 percent,” the coach said. “If we didn’t have him, it’s a different game.”
As for Omitaomu and Love, “… He’s been my brother on the field, so that chemistry has always been there. It’s been growing stronger by the year,” Omitaomu said.
“Me and Timi have the chemistry — it shows,” Lowe said.
About Hawks senior Marshall Guzman, “It was a heck of a job that he did. He was the one who got us started,” Stephens said about the first HVA goal, coming in the 68th minute and assisted by Castillo.
Also earning praise from HVA included center-fullback Mason Sandidge, a junior, who “definitely stepped up big in the second half,” Stephens said, and Brady Margo, a sophomore defender. “Any time you’re tasked with Jake and Timi on you, you’ve got to work.”
While Farragut improved to 12-2-3 as 4-AAA champs, the Hawks fell to 10-3-3 after the loss.