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Top-seeded Tribe rolls in 1-AAA semifinals

By JOHNNY WILSON, Sports Correspondent • May 8, 2018 at 10:32 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A glossy record doesn't mean much these days unless it includes postseason success, and the unbeaten Dobyns-Bennett boys soccer team is keeping that in mind.

The top-seeded Indians (15-0-2) began their playoff push Tuesday with a 9-0 mercy-rule rout of No. 4 David Crockett in semifinal play of the District 1-AAA tournament at the Stone Castle.

The victory qualified D-B for next week's Region 1-AAA tournament.

The Indians next face Science Hill, a 6-0 winner over Tennessee High on Tuesday, in Thursday's 6 p.m. district title game at the same venue.

"Part of the knock against us in the past has been that we were not 'playoff ready,' " fifth-year D-B coach Blake Rutherford said. "We've talked this year that we need to make sure we are ready and that we're playing our best, right now. I think today was a good indicator of where we're at.

"This is a special group of young men. I told them to embrace what you're trying to do — and that is to win a state championship. We took the first step tonight."

The Indians had no difficulty in spanking the Pioneers (6-10-1) for the third time this season by a combined count of 26-1.

D-B led this one 7-0 at halftime behind the three goals of senior Matt Diminick and two from senior Tucker Holt.

"We had a mediocre training session yesterday and the kids were just going through the motions," Rutherford said. "But I told them from this point moving forward we've got to be primed and ready to go because now it's win or go home. We took care of business, I thought, tonight."

TIP OF THE HAT (TRICK)

Senior Eli Click earned his own hat trick, scoring the second half's only goals to join Diminick with three on the evening.

Click scored on a PK five minutes into the second half and ended the game with a one-time blast from the left flank in the 64th minute.

"They both played well," Rutherford said before quickly returning to the topic of his team's postseason preparedness.

"Again, when the lights come on, whether we're playing Tennessee High or Science Hill or Bearden or Houston or whoever it is, we've got to be ready to go."

CROCKETT LEARNS

The Pioneers learned a lot in their first year under Michael Smelser and had milestone moments with Monday's 3-2 district victory over Daniel Boone just one week after fighting Science Hill to a scoreless draw.

But Smelser knows the gap between the top of the league and the bottom end is significant.

"If you look at the whole picture of things, this is the time of year when part-time programs and part-time mentalities get part-time results," Smelser said. "We're a three-month program and D-B is a year-round program, and that's the difference of who gets to move on this time of year.

"D-B is fantastic and I expect them to make a deep run, but I'm proud that my team was able to do some great things this year."

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