By Thomas Sellers Jr.
History was made on the Brighton Soccer Field May 11.
For the first time in school history, the Brighton Cardinals reached the Sectional round after beating the Cordova Wolves 2-0 in the Region 7-3A Soccer Semifinals.
“We gave our fans and Tipton County something they’ve never seen from a team around here,” Brighton senior captain Austin Chapman said. “Teams have gotten here but never pass this point. And beating that wonderful team over there, Cordova. Give them all the credit. They came out here and played a great game. They just happen to be on the short end of it tonight.”
The Wolves entered the game as the second-place team from District 14-3A. The Cardinals earned the home game against the Wolves as the champions of District 13-3A.
Brighton jumped ahead 1-0 courtesy of a Nolan Combs goal, assisted by Welton DeGraffreed. The Cardinals got some insurance in the second half when senior Austin Chapman tallied a goal.
“We just came out here and gave it 110 percent,” Brighton junior captain Justin Krachen said. “It was high pressure. Everybody just gelled as a team. We played as a team.
“It made it somewhat easier,” Krachen said of the team’s mindset after Chapman’s goal. “But you’ve got to keep it in the back of your mind and play like you’re down 2-0. You play with that mentality, then you’ll be alright.”
Brighton was more than OK earning the 2-0 win over and a piece of school history. The Cardinals advance to the Region 7-3A Soccer championship game and insured a spot in Sub-State.
“We have to play like there’s not another game to go,” Brighton co-captain Welton DeGraffreed. “We have to keep going and keep grinding. We have to get it all together to win this game. We have to keep winning.”
Grinding has become the trademark of another area team in recent years. Chapman said the Cardinals took a page out of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies playbook in approaching their postseason.
“To leave games behind,” he concluded, “You go one game at a time. The Memphis Grizzlies are taking one by one. We love them to death. And we’re trying to give our fans the same thing. We want to go one game at time. And just keep pushing forward and put the past games behind us.”
The Cardinals were defeated in the Region Championship game 4-0 by the Arlington Tigers. In Sub-State, Houston outlasted Brighton 7-0.