KNOXVILLE — A dream season ended like a nightmare Saturday for the Dobyns-Bennett boys soccer team.
For the second straight game, the vaunted D-B offense was held in check and the result was a devastating 2-0 loss at the hands of Farragut in the Class AAA sectionals.
The victory propelled the Admirals (19-3-0) into the TSSAA state quarterfinals next week in Murfreesboro.
The Tribe (19-4-1) was left to wonder what might have been.
A team that had averaged more than five goals a game for the season was blanked 1-0 by Science Hill in Thursday’s Region 1 final and again came up empty against the Admirals.
“This time of year you have to score goals,” said D-B coach Chris Woods. “For some reason, we just hit a logjam the past two games.”
Farragut got on the board in the seventh minute. Admirals forward Marvin Mendy was taken down inside the 18, and a penalty kick was awarded. Farragut’s Emilio Moore slipped the spot shot past D-B goalkeeper Preston Mercer for a 1-0 advantage.
Just as in the Science Hill loss, the Tribe offense was bottled up by a concerted defensive effort. Farragut’s back line of Justin Lomax, Connor MacLean, John Totten and Tyler Klarner refused to allow D-B’s forwards any breathing room or clean looks on goal.
Earlier this year, D-B had beaten Farragut 3-0 on the same pitch.
“We had the advantage of playing them earlier in the season,” said Admirals coach Wallie Culbreth. “We also saw them play at the Palmetto Cup in South Carolina, so we had an idea of what they liked to do.
“D-B is a very good team,” Culbreth added. “I played the odds on what I had previously seen from them and today it worked out for us.”
Trailing 1-0 at the half, D-B turned up the pace a couple of notches over the final 40 minutes of play.
Farragut was able to withstand the onslaught thanks to keeper Gus Green. A senior playing his first year of soccer, Green came up big on several occasions late.
In the 62nd minute, he stopped D-B’s Warren Austin from point-blank range. Six minutes later, the Tribe’s Jorge De Gyves launched a shot that seemed destined for net before Green parried it away.
Seth Douthat’s blast in the 76th minute was also repelled by Green, and in the 79th minute the keeper again went one on one with De Gyves and got the better of the Tribe forward.
“I don’t know how I kept making those saves,” the excited Green said after the match. “They had such quick forwards, but my defense kept them off of me most of the match.”
D-B pushed every one forward in the last two minutes of play in an attempt to find the equalizer.
A Tribe shot was deflected and pounced on by a trio of Admirals, who raced downfield against the unprotected Mercer. He stopped the first shot, but the rebound found the foot of Mendy, who tapped it in the net for the final margin of victory.
It was a difficult way to end what had been a glorious season for D-B’s 13 seniors.
“We left everything out on the field,” said De Gyves, a senior. “We gave it our all. At the end we were so close, but just not close enough.”
Woods refused to dwell on the losses in the final two games.
“I told the boys that results will not define us as people or as a team,” he said.