East Hamilton's Jaxon McClure keeps the ball from White House defenders Sloan Dailey,17, and Brock Fogle, 34, in Murfreesboro Tuesday. Staff Photo by Jake Daniels, Chattanooga Times Free Press
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — East Hamilton goalkeeper Fielder Dennis spent 110 minutes of game action observing and cheering for his teammates, but in the span of about five minutes of penalty kicks, he turned into a Hurricanes hero.
Dennis stopped a shot and watched another sail wide, the latter pushing the Hurricanes to the Class A/AA state semifinals with a 7-6 penalty-kick advantage over White House after a 2-2 tie at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.
Chattanooga Christian later beat Page 2-0.
East Hamilton (16-2-3) will face the winner of another quarterfinal between Greeneville and Kingsbury at 5:30 p.m. today.
Dennis, a first-year soccer player, said nerves were the first thing that came to mind when coach John Millard informed the sophomore he was going in for the shootout.
“I was nervous because I hadn’t played the whole game, but I was also excited to get the opportunity to help my team,” Dennis said. “It was just so overwhelming at first because everybody from all the other fields was watching.”
Said Millard: “In practice, both he and [starting keeper] Trevor Kepler were neck-and-neck as far as how they performed when we practiced PKs. They both brought different skill sets to the table; I just felt like Fielder had been hot lately, and I wanted to give him a shot.”
The flow of play wasn’t to Millard’s liking, as the Hurricanes twice built leads only to watch the feisty Blue Devils answer with goals of their own.
Jaxon McClure’s goal 16 minutes in gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 advantage, but a free kick by Austin Thomas at the 25:53 mark of the second half tied the match.
East Hamilton had a penalty-kick opportunity saved by White House keeper Matthew Howard, but Daniel Duk’s rebound goal gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 advantage — one that was gone when Chase Dunlap scored with under eight minutes to go.
“We were fortunate to take this one,” Millard said. “It’s been a challenge for us all year to have that instinct to go up two goals, but I’ll certainly take this win.”
Chattanooga Christian 2, Page 0
Michael Powell of CCS steps over Page's Nick Hartman during their game in Murfreesboro Tuesday. Staff Photo by Jake Daniels, Chattanooga Times Free Press
Clark Marshall and Michael Powell had goals for the Chargers, who advanced to the state semifinals with a rough-and-tumble victory.
CCS coach Shawn Brower came in expecting a physical battle, and he got just that. The Patriots were called for 10 fouls and added two yellow cards in the final minutes on penalties.
“We knew it was going to be a rough match,” Brower said. “The thing about us, though, is that you never know who is going to come through. I thought we moved the ball well; I didn’t feel as though they had much of an attack.
“The big thing was is that we got the win, and we’re moving on.”