After a 4-1 defeat of Hixson, the Bears and head coach Tucker Blackmon found themselves in unfamiliar territory, with a 4-0 start to their soccer season.
Bradley started out its season with a 5-0 win over Silverdale Academy, then followed things up with a 4-1 win over Sequoyah and a 6-nil victory over Grace Baptist.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a 4-0 start since I’ve been here. We were really young last year and getting everyone back this year helped,” Blackmon declared. “I’ve been trying to teach this system for three, four years now and it’s paying off.”
By the end of the first half, the Bears were up 2-nil thanks to a goal by juniors Austin Goodaker and Warren Crisp.
“Warren Crisp’s goal to go up 2-nothing was reminiscent of Miles (Christian, a former Bear star) when he was here. It was composed and pure power and placement,” Blackmon described.
It wasn’t until the 57th minute that Hixson was able to find the back of the net, making it a 2-1 game.
“I was pleased with how we were working in triangles, spreading the field, pulling them outside and then striking in the center,” Blackmon said. “Our defensive rotations are good and in my opinion this was a greatly executed game, minus that one letdown.”
The one-goal game soon became a two-goal game, thanks to senior midfielder Jace Boyd, who was assisted by Crisp.
“We took the momentum and came back. We didn’t fall apart, we just kept playing our game, possessing the ball and the goals came,” Blackmon stated.
In the 70th minute senior midfielder Austin Childs made it 4-1 from the corner.
“Austin Childs is probably our best player at working in the center and getting those balls out wide,” Blackmon commented.
With their 4-1 victory, Coach Blackmon feels his team has set a definite tone for the season.
“This season is the opposite of last year. I think we’ve now scored 19 goals in four games, and last year I don’t even think we got 19 goals in the season. The goals are coming because they are trusting the system,” Blackmon explained. “It’s our seniors and juniors’ time and they are coming together. It’s nice to be here and very exciting — 4-0 is 4-0 no matter who you play.”
While the Bears have been on a scoring bonanza for their past four games, senior keeper Joey White has only given up two goals.
“He’s a stud and he doesn’t get a lot of credit for it because last year we were so young and gave up a lot of goals. This year he isn’t having to work as hard and has given up only two goals,” Blackmon stated.
Efforts by defenders Alex White and Brendan Hayes helped to hold Hixson to just two shots.
Bradley registered 19 shots on frame Tuesday evening.
Next up for the non-hibernating Bears will be hosting Rhea County on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Even though the Eagles are no longer district opponents, Coach Blackmon still expects a battle on the pitch.
“They always come and play us hard, so we don’t expect anything less than their best shot at us,” Blackmon said.
BEARS 4, WILDCATS 1
Halftime score: 2-0. Goals: Austin Goodaker, Warren Crisp, Jace Boyd, Austin Childs (BC). Assists: Crisp Record: Bradley Central 4-0.