Having achieved district, region, and state championships already in their careers, just one thing remained for the Bearden senior class – beating arch rival Farragut.
However, for 60-plus minutes, it looked as if they may not be able to check off that final box.
But the Bulldogs (9-4-1, 4-1 District 4-AAA) finished strong, scoring three goals over the final 18 minutes of play to come from behind and capture a 3-2 win over Farragut (11-4-1, 4-2), for Bearden’s first win over the Admirals since 2012.
“It’s just a weight off of my shoulders and the team,” senior midfielder Will Lewis said. “It was a great team win.”
It was Lewis who got the Bearden comeback started, scoring off of a direct kick from just outside the box with 18:08 remaining.
And from there, after appearing as playing too tight early on, the Bulldogs rolled.
“It was a big statement by the boys to battle back after being down,” Bearden Coach Ryan Radcliffe said. “It says a lot about them and the senior class.”
Bearden controlled much of the possession after Lewis’s goal and broke onto the scoreboard again at the 7:23 mark, when a Caleb Wilkins header got by Farragut goalie Brandon Keane and bounced to Bulldog freshman Connor Cross, who scored on an empty net to tie the game.
Just 38 seconds of game time later, Wilkins completed the comeback and gave Bearden their first lead of the game with a header off of Mitchell Mazrimas’s direct kick from midfield.
The first half was relatively quiet offensively, but Farragut did take a 1-0 lead into the locker room off of a Wes Jeter goal 12 minutes into the game.
The Admirals then came out of halftime strong, as Nathan Miller made it 2-0 just over a minute into the second half.
Bearden soccer complex dedicated: At halftime of Friday night’s game, Bearden’s soccer complex was renamed the Radcliffe-Kelly Soccer Complex, after Coach Radcliffe and his family and Jim Kelly, a major contributor in building the complex.
Coach Radcliffe’s brother, Derick, played for Bearden, and his mother, Linda, coached and taught at Bearden.
Offensive turnaround against Admirals: In the five straight losses to Farragut, Bearden was averaging just 0.8 goals per game, while the Admirals were averaging 3.6.
Farragut was also averaging 4.4 goals this season in their 14 previous games before Friday night.
Next up for Bearden: The Bulldogs will be in action two times next week, with both games being on the road.
Bearden will travel to Lenoir City on Tuesday for their second to last district game, and then will play at Oak Ridge on Thursday in an out-of-district matchup. Both games are at 7 p.m.