Surviving a possession recession: Seymour downs Pats to face Morristown West in finals
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SEYMOUR — Jefferson County opened like a team possessed but one red card changed the tone and No. 2 Seymour owned the advantage taking a regional bid and a spot in the District 2-AAA title match with a 4-1 win over the third-seeded Patriots Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory.
“It’s great to be in but it’s not enough. We’re looking for that district championship game,” Seymour coach Drew Payne told The Daily Times as the rain began to fall after a lightning whistle on the match came in the 77th minute. “We want that championship but the advantage it gives you when you get to regionals.”
Seymour’s risen in the ranks as a possession program but it was Jefferson County dominating possession with crisp passing in the opening minutes at Johnson University. The Eagles got a second minute goal highlighting their pure potential but the Pats remained dominant despite the deficit.
“We got an incredible goal, that may have been the goal of the season, Just a great cross from Jake (McBrayer) over to Michael (Clemons) and he puts it back to the center in the air and Kameron (Gruenewald) just ripped it in the air. It never hit the ground,” Payne said of the opening goal. “It looked like they came out trying to beat us at our own possession game and if anyone can do that it’s Jeff County. Their coach and I played for the same coach in college and have a similar soccer school of thought. They can possess as well as anyone. I don’t know if that was a strategy and game plan or just happened.”
The Pats ripped good tries just off frame but couldn’t get past keeper Chris Grimo’s reach and leaps. Before Jefferson County could make persistence pay off Seymour got a break away clear in the 19th with Fredrik Bergman one-on-one at full speed with a Patriot defender. The junior exchange student deftly changed his angle to the inside to slip the defender and was inside the box when the Jeff County keeper dived for the ball still on Bergamn’s foot and brought both down in a pile drawing a red card.
Eagle captain Connor Viars powered home the pk for a the two-nil lead and the Patriots played with ten the rest of the way as a series of yellow cards came out to handle frustration. Jefferson County had its own penalty kick try in the 35th minute but Grimo made a deflating airborne stop.
“That was a big, big save. Grimo’s become a heck of a player for us,” Payne said of his converted keeper. “This is his first year playing and he’s come so far making a save like that.”
Bergman made his mark in the second half. Taking a crossing pass out of the right corner the junior coming in from left center went bodily left and footedly right in the 53rd for the third Eagle goal. The forward added another in the 63rd minute by going left and quickly back right to open a lane between the defenders to bury home his 42nd goal of the season and leaving the Pat keeper lying prone with another defender punching the turf repeatedly.
“They were still wining on possession until the red card, we went up 2-0 it was still iffy the rest of the half until we cooled off and just played our game in the second,” Payne said.
Seymour advances to Friday’s district finals play at No. 1 Morristown West after The Trojans took a similar 4-1 win over No. 4 Sevier County.
Hail of a thing: Maryville and catholic were just about done warming up when the quickly moving thunderstorm roared over the Maryville College campus with heavy rain and a little hail and making the turf unplayable except in a three months of repair afterwards type of situation. The game was rescheduled to 5:30 p.m. today. The winner will face Farragut in the District 4-AAA finals after the Admirals prevailed over Bearden on Fletcher Ekern’s goal with two seconds left in overtime to break a scoreless standoff.