By Thomas Sellers Jr.
First-year Brighton Cardinal Head Coach Williams “Bubba” Chambers brought his team into Munford primed for an upset in the first round of the District 13-3A Soccer Tournament.
Winner advanced to the district finals and earned a spot in this week’s Regionals. The loser went home concluding there 2013.
“It does not matter what the records are, you put Munford and Brighton on the field,” Munford Head Coach Kyle Selby said, “they’re going to battle like you’ve never seen.”
And the latest edition of Brighton/Munford soccer May 7 was a battle on the Munford Stadium Field. And two Zack Kurtzman goals gave the Cougars a 2-0 victory and kept Munford’s season alive.
For the Cardinals, year one under Chambers came to an end.
“Bubba has done an outstanding job in his first year,” Selby said. “He’s an outstanding coach. Austin Chapman, that kid is an all around player. You take a kid who has been playing midfield all year and you can move him to goalie. He’s that good. He gets hurt in this thing and comes back out and plays mid, class act.”
The effort of Chapman and his Cardinal teammates kept the game close but the Cougars dominated tempo and possessed the ball enough to get several shots on goal.
Selby said the way his team played against Brighton illustrated the Cougars reaching one preseason goal.
“The boys understood from the beginning, they sat down and wrote their goals down,” he recalled. “And their goals were to win the district championship. We’re not there yet.
“Our goals (as coaches) were to teach them how to play soccer,” Selby added. “We weren’t too worried about wins and losses, ‘Teach the boys how to play soccer.’ Tonight you saw that. We wanted to possess the ball and we did.”
Selby and Assistant Coach Bobby Picchi entered each game this year wanting the Cougars to control the ball in a range of at least 65 to 70 percent.
Coming close to that goal in the district tournament opener allowed Kurtzman to net his first goal in the 25th minute.
Munford goal Erik Furseth and his defensive line kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the first 40 minutes.
The Cougars’ 1-0 halftime lead grew to 2-0 early in the second half when Kurtzman scored again. Ball control the final 37 minutes helped Munford earn a shutout.
The win added to the Munford 2013 resume’ including a Best of the West Tournament title, a team record of 64 goals for the season and another Cougar record of 15 wins in a season. The previous record was 8 victories and 32 goals in a campaign.
“Nobody wants to go home,” Selby said. “I’ve got eight seniors sitting here. None of them want to go home. To do that (reach Regionals) is good.
“These boys proved they can hang with anybody,” he concluded. “Everyone of those seniors, most of them are four year guys. They’ve been here from the start. We’ve built a program here. Those boys built it and they worked hard. I told them today, they get one shot at forever.”