KINGSPORT — The perfect record may be gone. The aura of invincibility is not.
Dobyns-Bennett remained unbeaten on Thursday night, a first-half brace from senior Ben Lewis securing a comfortable 3-0 win against Tennessee High in a key District 1-AAA soccer tilt for both teams at Indian Highland Park.
The win clinched another regular-season league championship for the Tribe (14-0-1, 5-0-0), their fourth consecutive. The opening-round bye received in doing so — for the district tournament, to be held in two weeks time at Indian Highland — was welcomed, but probably an afterthought. The forefront of coach Chris Woods’ intenary included addressing his team’s lethargic performance.
“The big thing is I didn’t think we brought much intensity,” Woods said. “It kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It’s a win, but we rate our results not on the scoreboard but on how we play.
“We’re getting complacent,” Woods added. “The boys know it, too. There is going to be a team out there that is going to knock us in the face. How we respond is going to be interesting. We’ve got to understand, nobody is going to give us anything.”
The Vikings (6-5-0, 2-3-0) were in somewhat of a giving mood, at least early on. A positive start — Drew Viers nearly afforded Tennessee High a shock lead after only eight minutes — was promptly undone when a giveaway at midfield directly led to the Indians’ opening goal.
Lewis provided the telling touch, his looping header from a Chase Givens crossing pass catching the scrambling goalkeeper John Turnbull out at his far post. Lewis, a menace on the left all half, was at it again just eight minutes later, this time benefiting from a deflection to extend the lead.
Defender Greg Vogel closed the night’s scoring three minutes from the interval, lashing a David Geno corner kick through a crowded penalty area. It was academic from there.
“Mistakes,” Vikings coach Evandro Valente said. “The first goal we had a giveaway. The second one, the same thing and a deflection. The third one, we had a chance to clear it and just missed it.”
“The difference between them and us is that they were much more focused and more disciplined. We are just not disciplined enough.”
The soft-spoken Lewis has quietly become an integral piece of this team as it approaches the postseason. He is now joint-fourth on the team with five goals.
“We were beating them outside early,” Lewis said. “We had our gameplan and executed it pretty well.”
Woods, meanwhile, was impressed with the senior’s focus — particularly in the initial stages of Thursday’s match.
“You picked the right guy to talk to tonight,” the coach said. “I’m glad Ben showed up tonight. He was really big for us.”