By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Bubba Chambers stepped away from the Brighton Cardinal Soccer program for a season.
His departure coincided with Brighton missing Regionals in 2016. Chambers came back home and joined forces with his former standout Austin Chapman from the 2015 District 13-3A championship team to bring the Cardinals back to the top.
The hard work and new philosophy paid off for Chambers’ crew tonight when Brighton outlasted the Munford Cougars 1-0 in the District 13-3A Soccer Championship game.
“To be a family again, be one, play as one and be a family as one,” Chambers said, “that’s basically what it boiled down to.”
Chambers said a large part of the credit for the return to the top goes to his captains Leo Garcia, Cole Jankowy, Zach Wagner and district MVP Nolan Combs. He also praised the contributions of seniors Moses York and Kermon Buron.
“(Austin) has a lot to do with it,” Chambers said. “He was a player the last time we were here. Now he’s come back to give me a hand. And I couldn’t have done it without him. The seniors played a big hand in getting here tonight.”
When the night started the Munford Cougars brought the action and pace to the Cardinals. Munford had several shots on Brighton goalie Austin Gray. The junior had to make several saves throughout the first 40 minutes.
Cougars like Cameron Williams, Dakota Perrigo, Danny Roach and Zerick Brown controlled the pace throughout the early moments.
“That’s the way we’ve played all year,” Chambers acknowledged. “For some reason we’ll come out in the first half and sort of sit back and coast. All of sudden in the second half we’ll come out full force. It goes from there. We can’t figure it out. We’ve tried everything from subbing to everything. Now we just ride with it.”
The Cardinals picked up the pace against the Cougars in the final 40 minutes. With about 15 minutes remaining in the contest Garcia connected with the game-winning goal.
Now Brighton will host a Region 7-3A contest Tuesday night. The Cougars will travel that night to play the District 14-3A champions.
Chambers said taking home the gold plaque is proof hard work, dedication and coming together pays off. Now they have to do it in Regionals.
“Playing together as family like they did in the second half,” he concluded. “We have to put a full 80 minutes together. Do it from the time that whistle blows until it stops.”