Out of the three Bradley County teams in action today only the second-seeded Cleveland High School Raiders were able to pull out the victory and advance to the second round of the tournament.
Cleveland advanced past seventh-seeded Rhea County High School this evening with a 6-1 win, and they will play host to third-seeded McMinn County High School who won a 3-nil decision over the six-seeded Walker Valley Mustangs earlier in the day.
On the other side of the bracket, fifth-seeded Bradley Central lost a 2-1 last-second stunner to fourth-seeded Soddy-Daisy, who will now make the trek to Ooltewah to face the top-seeded Owls.
Raiders 6, Eagles 1
Scoring came fast and frequent as the Cleveland Raiders put a thumping on Rhea County to bring a close to the first round of the district tournament.
Five first half goals and one more in the second period helped the Raiders cruise to a big 6-1 win and advance to the second round of play Tuesday.
Jesse Jones kick things off when he found Seth Goza in the penalty area during the 5th minute of play to bring Cleveland out of the gate strong and put them on the board early.
For their part, the Eagles didn’t relent early and showed a lot of heart. It paid dividends in the 10th minute when the found Cleveland napping and pushed a shot just above the Raider’s keepers outstretched hand to bring the score level.
Cleveland found its composure after the Rhea attack, and in the 12th minute Alex Rodriguez gave the Raiders the lead again with a goal of his own.
Rhea’s offense continued to get looks through the middle part of the half, but it was Cleveland who continued to get goals.
Goza returned the favor in the 18th minute when he put a cross to Jones for the Raiders’ third goal of the game.
Eric Ingraham joined the fun in the 33rd minute when he lobbed a long pass to Rodriguez who put an easy header in a vacant Rhea County goal to put Cleveland up by three.
Ingraham did it himself in the final minute of the half when he fought his way through the Eagle defense to find the back of their net.
Going into the break, Cleveland held a commanding 5-1 lead.
The lone second half goal came in the 44th minute when Jones fought on the goal line for a loose ball and was eventually able to poke it across the line and past the keeper for the score, putting Cleveland up by the final of 6-1.
In the second round the Raiders will play host to McMinn at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, after the Cherokees defeat of Walker Valley earlier in the day.
Last time the two teams met Cleveland came out on the winning end of a 3-0 cagey match.
Cherokees 3, Mustangs 0
It was a match dominated by the McMinn County Cherokees as they hosted Walker Valley for a 10 a.m. opening-round showdown in Athens.
Tribe players came out of the gate strong and showed they had the fire to advance in the tournament, scoring early to take the wind out of already flagging Mustang sails.
Within the first 10 minutes of play McMinn had found the back of Walker Valley’s net, and the offensive attack only built in strength as the half proceeded.
The Mustangs tried to fire back in the 21st minute when senior Caio Hysinger volleyed a shot from distance, but the attempt lacked pace as was easily diverted by the Cherokee defense.
First half play was littered by McMinn shots on goal and offensive pushes, and looked only a matter of time before the lead was extended.
That very thing happened in the 30th minute of play when an error by the Mustang defense allowed McMinn’s forwards to march into the goal unharassed for the second Cherokee goal.
When the half sounded it was easy to see where the frustration and momentum was on and off the field.
Walker Valley seemed on the verge of breaking the shutout in the very first minute of the second half, but a Hysinger shot came to rest outside of the goal in the side netting, ending the threat.
McMinn tacked on their final goal at the 49 minute mark to go up 3-nil and cruise to a first round victory.
Trojans 2, Bears 1
It couldn’t have been a more heart-breaking loss for the Bradley Central Bears as they faced off in their opening round game against the Trojans of Soddy-Daisy.
Despite leading early and controlling much of the second half Bradley fell in the final 10 seconds of play as Soddy-Daisy snuck in a dagger to steal a game that looked destined for overtime.
Miles Christian put Bradley up early when he notched his 74th career goal, an unofficial school record, for the Bears off a penalty kick early in the first half.
The Bear’s defense had been much improved as of late, and did their part holding a powerful Trojan offense at bay.
But, Soddy-Daisy couldn’t be denied completely, and they brought things level early in the second half.
Both squads launched into a pitched battle back and forth trying desperately to find a way to take the lead and advance to the next round of play.
Right when play looked all but done and headed for an overtime Soddy-Daisy made one last offensive push that single handedly broke Bear hearts.
With 10 seconds left to play, a Trojan shot ended the stalemate, and in turn Bradley’s season, giving Soddy-Daisy the 2-1 victory.
The Trojans advance to a second-round match against the top-seeded Ooltewah Owls Tuesday to decide who advances to the district championship.