Despite 5-2 state loss, ‘I’m proud of these kids,’ Culbreth on FHS soccer

MURFREESBORO — Farragut High School’s boys soccer team made it to the state’s grand stage in 2021, but the Admirals had a short stay at the Spring Fling’s Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.

FHS lost its quarterfinal Division I Class AAA game to Murfreesboro Oakland, 5-2, Tuesday, May 25.

The Patriots entered that game without a loss, but Farragut held a 2-1 lead at halftime thanks to a pair of goals from senior Timi Omitaomu before Oakland — which finished its 2021 campaign with a 21-1-3 record after losing to eventual Class AAA state champion Germantown Houston on penalty kicks in the semifinals — tallied four unanswered markers after the break.

Omitaomu scored twice in a three-minute span late in the first half. Jake Lowe, another Admirals top-scoring forward, was credited with an assist on Omitaomu’s first goal.

“I’m proud of these kids and happy to stand with them,” FHS first-year head coach Bradley Culbreth said about his team, which finished with a 15-3-3 record.

“We had our ups and downs, but we had way more ups than downs,” he added.

“We put up eight or nine wins in a row, so they worked hard.”

The Admirals’ only three losses were to teams that had deep state tournament runs.

“All three of our losses were to teams that made the state tournament. Webb was undefeated (Division II-A state champions), Oakland went to the semifinals and Bearden lost in the finals (2-1 versus Houston),” Culbreth said.

Looking ahead

The first-year head coach said the future on the pitch for his Admirals is a bright one.

“I’m confident in the Farragut soccer that I know, and I’m hopeful that these kids and parents are excited,” Culbreth said.

Farragut plays in District 4-AAA, which is one of the most competitive leagues in the state.

The league has featured Farragut and Hardin Valley Academy, two of the top tradition-rich powers in Knox County, but will get much tougher begining next season as the Bulldogs return to the 4-AAA fray after spending the last few seasons in District 2-AAA.

“Our district will be a three-headed race with Farragut, Hardin Valley and Bearden,” Culbreth said. “And two of us will represent Knoxville in the state every year.”

Rebuilding area

But the Admirals will have to rebuilt in some areas, especially up top where Omitaomu and Lowe — known for being a lethal one-two punch with great chemistry — were standout senior forwards in 2021.