Bradley just got back onto the field after their senior day activities when a storm system caused everyone in attendance to take cover. Eventually, after a lengthy delay, the game was called in the 43rd minute due to the storm, with Bradley taking the 4-nil win.
Many around the district were waiting for the results of the match, as it would decide the fifth, sixth and seventh seeds in the quickly approaching postseason.
With the four goal defeat Rhea County slipped behind Walker Valley for the seventh seed and Bradley locked in its fifth seed and a match against fourth-seeded Soddy-Daisy on Saturday to open tournament play.
The Golden Eagles needed to lose by a single goal (if they were to lose) to keep the sixth seed, but the way Bradley was clicking offensively it was evident there was little hope of that outcome.
Early in the match both teams traded offensive pushes, but big defensive stands and shots without pace had play at a deadlock early in the first half.
Martin Zaragoza broke the scoring drought in the 22nd minute of play when he found a pass from Dustin Maynard and in turn, found the back of the Rhea net to give Bradley its first goal.
Miles Christian joined the fun in the 30th minute when Aziz El-Qadi broke free down the sideline and put a cross to Christian for the easy goal.
Despite the ominous storm cloud appearing on the horizon, Bradley’s offense and defense were already flashing lightning on the field.
As the half progressed, the Bear’s trap defense became more and more effective, drawing off-sides calls on the Eagles in seemingly three-quarters of their forward pushes.
In the 33rd Bradley made in 3-0 when Caleb Arrowood launched a free kick that found Austin Childs for another Bradley goal.
Christian capped the scoring when he took an Austin Childs pass and launched a rocket from distance that Rhea’s keeper couldn’t handle, putting the Bears up by the final of 4-nil.
Zaragoza nearly made it five for Bradley during first half stoppage time when he broke free in the top of the penalty area, but his shot zipped just past the far post and out of bounds.
During the half the Bears recognized their nine seniors and tried to hurry back onto the pitch as dark clouds loomed above the stadium.
The teams got seven minutes of second half play in before a flash streaked the sky and the referees were forced to send everyone off for the alloted time.
Ultimately, play was unable to resume, and Bradley walked away with their 4-nil win and a lock on fifth seed.
As a result, the Bears will face off against Soddy-Daisy in the opening round of the District 5-AAA tournament at 11 a.m. on the Trojans’ home pitch.