Baylor Beats Father Ryan In State Semifinal Soccer

With 2-0 Victory, Red Raiders Will Play For Title On Thursday

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - by Jaime Barrett
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Baylor boys' soccer coach Curtis Blair already believed his team was recieving extra help from above in Wednesday evening's Division II Class AA state semifinal. 

When Austin Rehm's bicycle kick gave the Red Raiders a lead over Father Ryan in the second half, it must have felt like confirmation.

Blair, whose father Curt passed away on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer, made it to the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex to coach his team in the state semifinals.
He and the Red Raiders will return there Thursday after Rehm's incredible goal sparked a 2-0 victory that puts them in the championship match.

"God is good," Blair said. "I think it was 12 versus 11 out there today. I feel like my father was looking down on us."

Blair credited assistant coach Scott Bosgraff for filling in during his absence the past two days to help the team get ready for a rematch of one of the low points in its season. During a regular-season meeting with Father Ryan, the Red Raiders gave up three goals in the first 10 minutes, and lost 4-1. The Irish went on to win the East/Middle Region championship, while Baylor finished third in the region.

"We've talked about adversity all year," Blair said. "For them to come out and compete the way they did today is incredible. Four weeks ago, we got shelled and lost our composure. Today, we kept our composure, we kept our defensive shape, we limited their chances, and I thought we did a great job. The guys came out and played with a lot of heart and soul, and that's a tribute to them."

Father Ryan did have several dangerous scoring chances in the first period, but Red Raiders keeper Colin Brewer helped keep the match scoreless at the half. During the break, Baylor decided that merely performing better than the last time wouldn't be enough.

"When we went in 0-0 at the half, we had the belief that we could win this," Blair said. "Our mentality was, let's go out there and win it. We didn't want to be satisfied with one good half."

Baylor backed up that belief six minutes into the second period. With the Red Raiders pressuring the goal, Rehm was in the box to follow a shot from Robert Stagmaier. Father Ryan keeper Jake Wilson came out to handle the shot, but Rehm collected the rebound, took a touch, and sent a perfect bicycle kick over the head of the defender who was guarding the line.

"Austin did a great job," Blair said. "He took it off his chest and then he bicycled it in. Just for him to have that composure with the good first touch was big, and then to have the courage and the creativity to go ahead and try it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but this time it worked out."

About five minutes after Baylor took the 1-0 lead, Father Ryan lost a man to a red card, and the Red Raiders then turned their attention to defense. The Irish nearly still managed an equalizer with 9:27 remaining, but a Baylor defender cleared a ball from the net with Brewer out.

Then, with 6:23 left to play, a shot from the Red Raiders' Alex Tyler appeared to cross the line, but initially no goal was signaled. After a discussion by the officials, Baylor was awarded the second goal, and finished out the 2-0 victory.

"We sort of bunkered in, and I think we may have bunkered in too early," Blair said. "When we got that second goal, it made it a huge relief. We could at least catch our breath and try to rest some guys. We had been limiting their chances, so getting that second goal made us even more confident going into the last couple minutes."

The upset over the state's top-ranked team puts Baylor, now 14-4-1, in Thursday's state championship match. The Red Raiders will face the winner of the Montgomery Bell Academy-Christian Brothers semifinal for the title at 8 p.m. Eastern.

"We've got one more chance," Blair said. "Once you get here, that's all that matters. At the beginning of the season, what everyone always talks about is getting to the final, and now we're here."

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

PHOTOS: CFC Wins 5-0 Over FC Carolinas

Lookouts Open Second Half Play With 6-1 Win Friday Over Pensacola

LHP Stephen Gonsalves threw seven innings, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in a 6-1 win on Friday night. Rain was in the area, but had no effect on the game. The Lookouts were supposed to begin the second half of their season on Thursday, but rain pushed the game to Friday. Gonsalves was on the mound and had a terrific outing. The left-hander ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Milner Guilty Of Lesser Charge In Attack On Cancer Patient

A Criminal Court jury found 27-year-old Michael William Milner guilty of reckless endangerment in an attack on a cancer patient at an East Ridge motel on July 12, 2016. Milner had been charged with aggravated assault, which would have carried a possible prison sentence of 6-10 years because he was a Range II offender due to his prior record, prosecutor Bates Bryan said. The ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Ghost & The Eclipse

So you don’t believe in ghosts, haints or spirits? And you don’t believe that smack in the middle of this August, it is going to be nighttime in the middle of the day? Then put on your seatbelt and sit next to me … First, the ghost. The 6 th Congressional District in the State of Georgia is in the northern part of Atlanta’s suburbs. It includes Roswell, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody ... (click for more)