John Huffman drilled a 25-yard blast into the upper right corner of the net, breaking the tie and spurring the Hilltoppers to a 3-1 win in the Region 1-AAA soccer championship at Burke-Toney Stadium on a chilly Thursday night.
“When you are undefeated, people question how you will handle adversity,” said Hilltoppers' head coach Brandon Kind, whose team improved to 19-0-1. “But we have been down in matches and come back. To see us (break the tie that quickly) was monumental. We've practiced that every day. We know we can get scored on. It's how we respond, and how we handle it.”
It was the fifth straight region crown for Science Hill, which earned a home sectional contest against Hardin Valley. The game time is Saturday morning at 10 o'clock.
West fell to 13-6-3 and will travel to face Farragut, which defeated Hardin Valley by a score of 4-1 in the Region 2-AAA title game.
Science Hill got on the board first when a ball into the box wasn't collected by the goalkeeper. Javier Alberto beat the goalie to the loose ball and made a slide shot past him into the net in the 18th minute.
“Javier was inspired to do that by his teammates,” said Kind. “The energy provided by his teammates gave him the energy to score that goal.”
Morristown West got on the board with a nice shot from 25 yards out in the middle of the field by Ike Hunsucker in the 34th minute.
“Science Hill is so strong defensively,” said West head coach Todd Bradley. “The things teams overlook with Science Hill is its defense, so all props to Ike. We gave them a scare for a little while.
“But Brandon is such an awesome coach. He's finally got the team where he wants it. They move the ball so well, and they are so fast at all positions.”
Science Hill answered back just three minutes later as John Huffman collected, aimed, and drilled a shot off the outstretched goalkeeper's hands into the upper right corner of the net. The Hilltoppers carried the 2-1 lead into halftime.
“That was the most important part of the game,” said Kind.
Huffman said it was a team goal.
“It was a good move by the team, and I got a good pass from my teammate,” he said. “I could draw it with my left foot, and pull it with my right, and shot it to the upper net.”
Huffman scored again, this one coming in the 46th minute as he beat the defense to a through ball and poked it to the right side of the keeper.
From there to the finish, Science Hill protected its lead but kept attacking. The Hilltoppers had a few near misses in the last 30 minutes while West only threatened a time or two.
Science Hill has outscored its opponents 94-10 on the season.