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Unbeaten Tribe shoulders ’Toppers aside for district soccer title

By JOHNNY WILSON Sports Correspondent • May 11, 2018 at 12:53 AM

BRISTOL — Dobyns-Bennett left no ifs ands or buts Thursday as to which is the dominant boys soccer team in the Big 7 Conference for 2018.

Winners of the regular-season title without a loss, the Indians added the District 1 championship to their resume with a 4-0 tournament final thumping of Science Hill at the Stone Castle.

The Indians will take a 16-0-2 record into Region I-AAA play Tuesday at home against the loser of tonight’s Knox Bearden-Morristown West District 2 title game.

Science Hill, meanwhile, must travel Tuesday to face the Bearden-West winner.

There was never much doubt on this evening that the Hilltoppers (9-5-7) would be hitting the road next week as District 1’s second seed.

“We were second best at everything tonight,” Science Hill coach David Strickland said. “Ya know, we were second best in our fight, our desire to step into the ball. Our thinking process, we were second best at that, too.

“They were just one step quicker to the ball all night. They may have looked stronger and faster because tonight they were — 100 percent, all over the field.”

D-B coach Blake Rutherford wasn’t about to disagree.

“A big factor that set us apart in the first half — and Science Hill is a good team — is that we were more physical,’’ Rutherford said. “We went to the ball and we were the more dangerous team all over the field.

“The boys did well for 80 minutes and that’s what you need at tournament time.”

The stars were plenty for D-B, but the tournament MVP trophy went to junior Samuel Garcia, who scored the game’s first and last goals.

“He’s been the kryptonite to Science Hill this year,” Rutherford said.

GARCIA GETS D-B GOING

Garcia scored the game’s first goal less than five minutes in on a nice header off a corner kick from Tucker Holt. The 6-foot-2 attack man then closed the scoring with a lovely 30-yard floater to the back of the net in the game’s 71st minute.

The 170-pounder said the strategy is always to be aggressive.

“We’ve always kept the mentality since I was a freshman just hunt as a pack. We’ve always kept that mentality, and we just ran like dogs out there and just pushed through the limits.

“We just played harder than they did. We got every 50-50 ball and gave it everything we had.”

D-B, which also got goals from Zeke Larkins and Matt Diminick, had nine corner kicks for the game to none for Science Hill.

The Indians led 2-0 at intermission behind the Garcia and Larkins goals.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

Rutherford elaborated on his team’s physicality.

“We started it early in the season and we preach it (to play physical), but the boys I think smell blood in the water for a lot of things,” Rutherford said. “There are certain moments of the game that we really, really want to ramp up the high (defensive) pressure, and we did.

“Jack (Perry) and Tucker (Holt) were iron horses tonight. When we decide to ramp up the pressure and win the ball and go forward, we are lethal going forward.”

SHUTOUT TIME

D-B sophomore goalie Jacob Park pitched a shutout and made one particularly impressive stop when he foiled a Sammy Kady PK attempt in the second half.

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