By Jesse Smithey
Say this for the South-Doyle boys’ soccer team, it loves drama.
Or, at least, it finds its way into it lately.
Because for the second consecutive outing, the Cherokees have needed a clutch performance in penalty kicks to get the win.
But this victory on Saturday night meant history.
After ending regulation, two overtime periods and the two “golden goal” sudden-death periods at 2-2, four South-Doyle players scored in PKs and keeper Boone Bratton made two stops in the PKs to lift the Cherokees past arch-rival Sevier County and into the state tournament for the first time in program history.
Bratton was the star in South-Doyle’s victory over Catholic in the Region 2-AA finale on Wednesday that also went to PKs. South-Doyle enters the state championship with a 15-4-3 record.
“He has a lot of confidence. I think that makes our whole team confident,” said fifth-year coach Adam Massie. “Even at practice, when we practice PKs, he’s a really good athlete and that first step of his really helps him make that save in that PK situation. I think he’s really instinctual, and he gives our whole team a lot of confidence when he’s back there.”
Massie lauded the defense on the whole, as well as Bratton. “They’ve started to step up their game, as well. Their play the last two games has been impressive.”
South-Doyle’s PK scorers Saturday were: Theo Qvist, Ethan Rummel, Aden Martinez and Lawson Jenkins.
And they did it in front of a raucous crowd, as Sevier County traveled well to match the turnout of the South-Doyle fan base.
“It was pretty amazing. The community coming out was amazing and it meant a lot to the players. It meant a lot to the coaching staff,” said Massie. “I got texts all week from alumni who were excited about what we were able to do in the region championship game and excited that we were in sectionals.
“The atmosphere (tonight) was pretty amazing. It really helped our players play at a high level.”