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One For All

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Munford Soccer Alex Cherry header Munford Soccer shirts

The Munford Cougar Soccer team runs across the field to thank the large crowd moments after winning the District 13-3A Tournament over Brighton in a shootout 3-1.

The Munford Cougar Soccer team runs across the field to thank the large crowd moments after winning the District 13-3A Tournament over Brighton in a shootout 3-1.

As more and more people filed into the Munford Stadium Thursday night, Munford Cougar goalie Erik Furseth didn’t notice it.
A large group of spectators were already present for the District 13-3A Soccer Tournament championship game featuring the Brighton Cardinals and Munford Cougars. But more individuals were arriving to the stadium for the scheduled spring football scrimmage.
The gridiron warriors had to wait a while as the football players continued to settle who would wear the crown of district champion. After 80 minutes regulation and 30 additional minutes of overtime, the district title would be settled by penalty kicks.
As Furseth and his Brighton counterpart Justin Scoggins made their ways to the goal they would defend, Furseth noticed the larger than usual crowd.
Pumped to another level, Furseth was able to stop three straight shots after allowing a goal to Dustin Hammer. Meanwhile the Cougar strikers tallied three goals courtesy of Tyler Futrell, Cedrick Williams and Jesper Kemp to win the game in a shootout 3-1.
“Pure ecstasy,” Furseth described the victory. “I’m so glad we get to move on and we won the district championship. I’m really glad we finally won our senior year.
“The crowd made it a lot better,” he added. “I’m so glad we had this size crowd. I know we owe some of that to the football team but it’s more fun and there is more adrenaline running through your vain.”
The District 13-3A tournament title is the first in the Munford program’s history. The shootout win kept the Cougars undefeated against league foes all season.
The Cougars beat Brighton in both regular season meetings. But the Cardinals were closing the gap with each game. Munford Head Coach Kyle Selby said he wasn’t surprised the third match up was a classic.
“Very exciting game,” he said. “The bottom line is Bubba Chambers is an awesome coach and he has his boys ready. You can’t ask for anything else. Both teams were ready and both teams played to the best of their abilities. And that’s what you get, double overtime and PK’s.”
The Brighton defense led by players like Austin Chapman, Welton Degraffreed, Gemone Morrow and Hammer kept pace with the Munford forwards.
The Cougar defensive line of Troy Moyer, Jaylen Hill, Alex Cherry and Robby Roach were just some of the Munford players helping protect Furseth in goal.
Both teams reached overtime scoreless. The extra time rules in Tennessee are two 10-minute halves for the first overtime. If the game is still tied after that 20-minute period, the game proceeds to two 5-minute sudden death overtime periods.
The Cardinals and Cougars were still tied at 0-0 when the extra 30 minutes was complete. It was time for the coaches to pick five players each for the shootout to face the goalies.
Hammer put Brighton up 1-0 darting a shot pass Furseth. Futrell tied it at 1-1 connecting with the back of the net.
Next up to face Furseth was Cardinal Taylor Wiggs. With a diving attempt, Furseth was able to stop the shot.
Munford went ahead 2-1 when Williams blasted a shot into the back of the net. It was Chapman’s turn to try to even the score, but Furseth was ready to stop his shot.
The Cougars jumped ahead 3-1 when Kemp made his attempt. Down to their final chance the Cardinals went Morrow to the waiting soccer ball feet in front of Furseth.
Furseth got into position to stop the ball and give his team the historic victory. Morrow applied toe to ball, and the next thing the ball touched was Furseth’s goalie glove slapping it away.
The Memphis signee leaped to his feet and raced to his teammates for an embrace. After a moment with his team, Furseth found his Coach.
“I told him how much I love him,” Selby said. “The kid has grown so much. He has more heart and comment and ability than anyone I’ve ever seen or coached.”
An emotional Selby tried to put the game into words.
“The defense was great,” he said of his team. “The defense played well. They all played with class. Nothing needs to be taken away from that Brighton team. They’re a good team with good kids. That is an awesome team. They did very, very well.
“We got work to do,” Selby concluded. “We have work to do. It was hard fought game. It means a lot be they have to do the work.”

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