Signal Mountain Falls In State Soccer Opener

Top-ranked Eagles Lose 2-1 To No. 2 CAK

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - by Jaime Barrett
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Signal Mountain boys' soccer team made it all the way to the Class A/AA state quarterfinals without ever losing a game, earning a No. 1 state ranking in the process.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the state-tournament draw pitted them against the second-ranked team, two-time defending champion Christian Academy of Knoxville. And Tuesday night at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex, CAK moved one step closer to a third straight title with a 2-1 victory over Signal Mountain.

"They're a good team that can possess the ball and keep it on a big, wide field," Eagles coach Richard Northcutt said. "We knew all season long that playing a team like that was going to be a challenge for us. We really hadn't run into anyone who could do that as well as they could. I wish we had, because we could've made the mistakes then. We've tried to prepare for it, but it's not really the same."

Signal Mountain opened its first-ever state tournament match with a goal in the opening minute from Connor Apthorp, but had trouble building momentum after taking the early lead. Northcutt said the early advantage didn't actually turn out to be much of one for his team. 

"You'd rather score than not score, you'd rather have a goal than not have a goal, but I'm not sure how much it really helped us," he said. "It may have put us on defense a little too much."

CAK recovered quickly, and created a number of scoring opportunities throughout the first half. Signal Mountain keeper Adam Pickett made several key saves, but with 8:21 remaining in the period, the Warriors' Dallas Dunn worked one by him for the equalizer.

Then, six minutes into the second half, CAK's Matt Zaczyk finished a corner kick from Wade Crutchfield for what proved to be the deciding goal. With about three minutes remaining, Signal Mountain pulled Pickett, replacing him with Brendan LaBarge in the field in an attempt to create more offense, a move that nearly paid off.

The Eagles had several extremely dangerous chances in the final minutes, but could never get the shot they needed to send the match to overtime. 

"I was impressed with our guys even to the very end," Northcutt said. "We did the goalkeeper switch, which we've talked about but never actually tried, and I think we pulled it off. It got us three chances that we wouldn't have had. It was desperate, score or go home time, so we went for a little spark. We came close. We were within a play here or a shot there, and that's all you can really ask."

The loss was the first of the season for Signal Mountain, which ended the year at 17-1-2. Although disappointed with Tuesday's outcome, the Eagles recognize how much they accomplished in this historic season, which featured the school's first district and region titles in boys' soccer, as well as the first state-tournament appearance.

"We did a lot of things right," Northcutt said. "We had a strong season. We've had great leadership from our group of seniors. They kept us working hard the whole time, and that makes for a good season. I think we went about as far as we could go. There's nothing to be ashamed of; we just have to congratulate the winners and say good game. We put up the best fight we could."

Signal Mountain will lose nine seniors from its state-tournament team, but the Eagles' underclassmen will have the opportunity to build on the foundation of success the seniors  created for the program this year.

"These guys who didn't get to play much today will be relied on next season," Northcutt said. "They need to start getting better, and hopefully they will want to do as well as these guys, and win as many games as they did. They've got a year to get ready."

(E-mail Jaime Barrett at jaimenbarrett@gmail.com)


Former Lafayette High's Demarcus Simpson Wins NCAA Division II National Championship As A College Freshman

Chadron State College freshman Damarcus Simpson said he surprised even himself Thursday afternoon when he went 26-feet, 3 inches while winning the long jump at the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships in Allendale, Mich. Simpson set the pace early when he hit 25-11 on his second jump during the first flight. He posted his winning jump on his opening attempt ... (click for more)

Willis Wins Third State Open Championship

GALLATIN, Tenn. -- Garrett Willis finished at 205 and won his third SunTrust State Open Championship on Thursday at The Club at Fairvue Plantation. The professional from Loudon shot rounds of 70, 62 and 73 for a two-shot victory over Germantown's Tim Jackson.  Clarksville's Hunter Richardson finished third while four players tied for fourth.       ... (click for more)

EPB Seeks 3.5% Rate Increase; First Since 2011

EPB on Friday morning asked its board of directors to consider a 3.5 percent rate increase to monthly electric power charges for customers, effective July 1. The board is set to vote on the measure in June. For residential customers who use 1,000 kWh of electric power in a month, this adjustment will reflect an increase of about $3.50 on their monthly bills. The 3.5 percent ... (click for more)

New CARTA Service To Enterprise South Industrial Park Has "Medium" Success So Far

CARTA officials said its new bus service from downtown to the Enterprise South Industrial Park is meeting with "medium" success thus far. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said there have been 313 riders on the routes that began at the first of the month. That includes 241 getting aboard downtown in the early morning and 72 riding from Enterprise South in the afternoon. ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)