CLASS A/AA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 2, KINGSBURY 0
Halftime score: 0-0. Goals: Clark Marshall, Adam Ryan. Assist: Beau Simmons. Shots: CCS, 19-6.
Saves: Rigoberto Navarro 7 (K); Cameron Anderson 2 (CCS).
Other standouts: Roy Anderson, Taylor Farrar, Jacob Warren (CCS).
Records: CCS 18-3-2; Kingsbury 15-7-2.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—A season ago, there was no pleasure for Adam Ryan when he walked off the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex main field. Boyd-Buchanan had just defeated Ryan and his Chattanooga Christian teammates in penalty kicks in the Class A/AA state final.
A year later, Ryan and the other Chargers were all smiles when “We Are the Champions” came blaring over the loudspeaker Friday night.
Freshman Clark Marshall scored the go-ahead goal and Ryan’s penalty kick goal in the 77th minute clinched the state championship for the Chargers, who defeated Kingsbury 2-0.
CCS coach Shawn Brower had won three state championships while coaching in Orlando, Fla., but really wanted this Chargers team to experience a title after the last two seasons ended in PK losses.
“I can’t tell them what it’s like to win one,” Brower said. “There’s this uncommon bond that goes along with winning a state title, and I wanted them to be able to experience it.”
The CCS defense played a huge factor in what transpired Friday. The Memphis team presented a pair of dangerous scoring threats in freshman Randolf Zleh and senior Giovanni Alvarado, who scored four goals in the Falcons’ state-semifinal victory over East Hamilton.
Brower man-marked Alvarado with senior Jacob Warren, while Roy Anderson guarded Zleh for large portions of the game. Ryan, normally a midfielder, played primarily in the back with Taylor Farrar.
“They were some scary players,” Ryan said of Zleh and Alvarado. “We’ve seen enough good players, though, that we were prepared for anything.”
Kingsbury (15-7-2) mounted a solid attack in the early going, but CCS settled into the game and started to counter with solid runs and attempts from Carson Whitmore and Anderson.
The attack improved in the second half, and with 22:19 remaining, Beau Simmons headed a throw-in to Marshall, whose ensuing header went under the hands of Kingsbury keeper Rigoberto Navarro.
“Early on, we were playing so many balls up the middle, but in the second half we started to get the ball out on the edges,” Brower said. “We quit taking extra touches and quit worrying about getting the perfect cross, and the speed of play picked up.”
Kingsbury coach Jihad Haider was not pleased with the officiating, as his Falcons were called for 13 fouls to five for CCS.
“I don’t think the officials let the players play,” Haider said, “but we had a dream of coming here to win. We didn’t do that, but we did better than we did last year.
“We made state three years in a row. Two years ago we lost in the first round [to Cleveland]. Last year we lost in the semifinals [to CCS], and this year we were in the finals. Next year we’re coming to win.”
Ryan added the finisher on his third state-tournament penalty kick of his high school career. The previous two times, his team eventually lost. Not Friday.
“We’ve had so much heartbreak and disappointment the past two seasons,” he said. “There’s just a lot of fulfillment in winning this year. Nobody will appreciate this win as much as our senior class. It means that all those minutes, all of that time we put in finally paid off.”