By Thomas Sellers Jr.
When a program is young and growing, there will be dates that will go down in history.
For the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel Soccer program, the latest milestone occurred May 8 against the FACS Crusaders. Going into extra time tied at 1-1, the historic postseason victory came courtesy of winning the shootout 3-1.
“It was amazing,” TRA Head Coach Pete Gutierrez said. “We’re a growing program. And I am new to the school as a coach. The win was an amazing win for them in many cases. Obviously because it was an ego booster coming into this game.
“To pull that off after having several years of growing and trying to build a soccer team,” he continued, “I believe we’re starting to do that. It was an amazing win and an amazing milestone for the school history for now on.”
The victory earned the Rebels a May 9 match up against one of the best teams in Tennessee, the Lausanne Lynx. The Lausanne players proved their 13-1-2 record was no mirage beating TRA 8-0 to advance.
TRA goalie Jake Massey had a few brilliant saves against the Lynx, but Lausanne controlled the tempo and possession getting enough shots off to jump ahead 4-0 by halftime. Lausanne added 4 more goals in the second half to win.
Gutierrez said he was proud of his team’s effort against Lausanne. The effort the day before resulted in victory.
After 80 minutes and the overtimes, the Rebels vs. Crusaders playoff game came down to a shootout. The penalty-kick format would give both teams 5 chances at the goal.
Massey was put on center stage to help his team survive and advance.
“He stepped up incredibly,” Gutierrez said. “He’s actually kind of new to soccer. He started last year. So his ability and his gaining experience and ability to grasp instructions is amazing. His ability to read players as they’re taking shots is very impressive with him being so new to the game. He was a major part in being able to win that game.”
Massey stopped three Crusader shots during the shootout setting the stage for senior Jose Flores and his attempt. When Flores connected the Rebels were victorious 3-1 and moving on.
Gutierrez said his senior trio of Flores, Josh Edgerly and Cole Creasy were vital to TRA’s maturity all season.
“Those three seniors basically carried the team,” Gutierrez noted. “ Josh is the back. He’s the last man you have to deal with before you score on us. Jose is usually a midfielder. But he’s technically a forward. Between him and Cole, they are a very big part of the scoring and our scoring strategy. It’s basically going to come down to them if we’re going to score because they are the ones our untitled strikers.”
Creasy, a two-time Best of the Preps forward, led the Rebels in goals this season reaching double figures. Flores was all over the field helping on offense with goals and getting back on defense to limit the opposition.
And Edgerly was the man in charge of goal kicks and protecting Massey all season. Gutierrez said the work ethic of his seniors rubbed off on his underclassmen.
“Juniors and sophomores, they played a very intricate part to our team’s standing,” he said. “I want to give them proper recognition for their hard work and achievements.
“The seniors were very impactful in shaping this season, along with support from juniors and sophomores, and the team as a whole,” Gutierrez added. “They came together to support each other well.”
Now the roster of Cole Creasy (captain), Jose Flores (captain), Josh Edgerly, Jake Massey, Zachary McCranie, Matthew Crowe, Ben Hart, Christopher Edmonson, Clayton Brown, Jordan Artzer, Adam Depperschmidt, Mason “Billy” Reeves, Christopher “CJ” McCutchen, Noe Flores, Carson Irby, Donald Crowe and Alberto Montero will be a part of TRA Soccer history forever.
“It was like being on cloud nine after that last goal Jose scored,” Gutierrez concluded. “To be honest, the rest of it was a blur. I was so happy for them and excited. That was just the best way I could explain it. I’m very proud of them. I’m very comfortable with saying to get to where they got yesterday they earned very bit of it throughout the season. It was amazing to be a part of history and be a part of that.”