The East Hamilton Hurricanes whirled past the Sequoyah Chiefs, 7-0, to secure the district 7-AA championship on Wednesday night.
Coming into the game, East Hamilton was riding a three-game win streak where they outscored their opponents 11-2.
The Hurricanes broke out of the gates fast as the scoring streak would continue with East Hamilton’s Maddox Seal’s chip-in goal within the third minute of the contest. Seal weaved through the backside of the defense as his across-the-field teammate sent a far-post cross to Seal. The goal was a tone setter, as the Hurricanes would keep up the offensive pressure throughout the game.
Minutes later, East Hamilton’s Ferdinand Erazo took a gamble with an unbalanced shot from outside the penalty box. The shot soared over the left corner of the goal post, only inches away. However, the shot caught the attention of the Hurricanes’ coach Patrick Daverson.
Daverson would bark out, “Why are we taking unbalanced shots. Pass to your teammates and get closer.”
Following their coaches' commands, the Hurricanes began to combine more passes that allowed them to attack Sequoyah’s goal. In one effort, East Hamilton shot three times until the Chiefs cleared the ball off a corner kick.
The effort would not spoil, though, as East Hamilton’s Pakin Suesatboon spun and recuperated the ball into the penalty box. With defenders crashing down, Suesatboon would kick it out to the open wingman, Taeven Harris. A one-tap floater by Harris planted itself at the end of Seal’s foot, who was also sandwiched between defenders. As the defense fell for a fake shot, Seal would float the ball into the net. It was all Hurricanes as time winded down in the half, 2-0.
Following the break, the Hurricanes picked apart the Sequoyah defense throughout the second half.
East Hamilton’s Hussein Baniahmad orchestrated the first attack while dribbling through the center of the field. Brayden Hunter wrapped around the backside, stretching the middle of the defense, and receive a left side through ball from Baniahmad. With no one between him and the goalkeeper, Hunter netted his first goal of the night with a near-side post shot.
Hurricane goalkeeper Carston Finch would receive some action following Chiefs’ Roni Eufragio-Cruz's run towards the net. Finch would stuff the attempt and see the ball across the field to the familiar offensive possession that has kept him relaxed all game.
The two teams picked up the physicality in the second half that resulted in multiple yellow cards being drawn on each team. The physicality would benefit the Hurricanes, who were a much taller and stronger team overall.
Taking advantage of the Chiefs attempts at physical play, East Hamilton’s Ethan Hixson would anchor the Hurricane backline as the big, bruising defender turned any pressure given into offense. As Hixson moved up, his team would be awarded a free kick, where the defender would rocket a skipper into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Following Hixson’s score, more East Hamilton players crept into scoring opportunities as compared to earlier in the game. Brayden Hunter would connect with Connor Lloyd on a corner kick. Lloyd would add some flavor with his shot, as the header went to the opposite post and landed in. Lloyd would capitalize minutes later as the Sequoyah penalty area became a beehive, with the ball acting as a pinball between players. Lloyd would simply chip-in a shot, putting East Hamilton up 6-0.
And finally, Hurricane Judson Kilpatrick would maneuver, change direction, and split the defense for a final shot-on-goal. The ball would land on the left-side of the net, totaling 7 total goals for the Hurricanes.
The final 40 minutes would expire, and East Hamilton, with a whopping 7-0 shutout, would finally clasp their hands upon their much-deserved district championship.
“In the second half we played like we wanted to play. We kept the ball on the floor and looked for open, easy opportunities,” said head coach Daverson. “Our next matchup will be tough. We will face a quality team either way. We beat Soddy-Daisy in the regular season, but it is postseason now. You never know what is going to happen, so you keep fighting for another day.”
Sequoyah will travel to the winner of the Soddy-Daisy and Red Bank matchup as playoffs ramp-up. East Hamilton's next foe will be the loser Red Bank versus Soddy-Daisy, as the Hurricanes continue their quest for another trophy—a state title.
Sequoyah 0 0 - 0
East Hamilton 2 5 - 7
Goals: Maddux Seal 2, Connor Lloyd 2, Ethan Hixson, Judson Kilpatrick, Brayden Hunter