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Story by Zacch Womble
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MURFREESBORO – For the first time in school history, the Beech Lady Bucs soccer team will play for a state championship.

First-year head coach John Ferguson and the Lady Bucs defeated Greeneville in penalty kicks Thursday afternoon booking a trip to Saturday’s finale against Seymour at 11:30 a.m.

“After we got over the initial shock of how good they were, I thought we did a good job of settling in and showed some fight that we’ve learned to find within us throughout the season,” Ferguson said.

Eighty minutes of soccer was not enough to determine a winner, as both teams headed to overtime, and eventually into golden goal periods where the two teams still found themselves scoreless after 100 minutes.

“Going into extra time, every time we came back together I saw there was no nerves, there was no rawness; there was a belief that we were going to win,” Ferguson added.

The 2018 season has done a great job of preparing Beech for this game as they took part in their third extra time game in the last four matches.

“We’ve found a level of mental toughness that I’m not sure was in the program before,” Ferguson said of the fight. “That goes a long way sometimes; sometimes you have to pick a fight and hang in there as long as you can. I think we showed that this version of the Beech Buccaneers belongs in the state tournament.”

After 20 minutes of sudden death overtime, Beech won the toss to kick first in penalty kicks. Sending senior Kendra Mueller to kick first, Beech refused to be denied.

Leading 5-4 on Greeneville’s final kick, keeper Natasia Jones saved her second penalty kick, sending Beech into a frenzy as they secured the victory.

“She is a fantastic athlete that can play in the field for us as well,” Ferguson said. “We practiced with both keepers and Kendra Mueller as well at goal keeper. I let the captains decide who they wanted to play. Kendra looked me dead in the eye and said she believed in Natasia. She played so fantastic in the game, in the shootout and seeing her evaluation as a goal keeper this year has been fun.”

Beech will play Seymour in a rematch from earlier this season for the Class AA championship on Saturday.

“We gave up a late dubious free kick to lost 2-1 and I didn’t think we played well,” Ferguson said of his upcoming matchup. “Like I said I think we belong here and I think we are a team that has the mental toughness, so if we put our tactical and technical ability with that I like our chances against any team here. It will be a fun game.”

See penalty kick action here –

Beech holds off Hillwood in finale

Posted by Beech High School at Oct 29, 2018 9:14AM PDT

Story by Matt Murray/Hendersonville Standard
Photo credit to Rick Murray
HENDERSONVILLE – It was a back-and-forth game on Friday night at Shackle Island Stadium, which saw the Beech Buccaneers hold on for a 34-28 win over the Hillwood Hilltoppers.

Beech held a double-digit lead on three different occasions, and held a seven-point halftime advantage. Beech coach Anthony Crabtree was proud of his team’s ability to earn a victory despite not playing their best game.

“We did a good job finding a way to win the game,” Crabtree said. “You need to come to play or this team will score points on you.”

The Hilltoppers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter when quarterback Hale Page scrambled for a 55-yard touchdown. The Buccaneers responded with an 8-play, 62-yard drive, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Tysean Jefferson. The Bucs attempted a 2-point conversion, but the try came up short and Beech trailed 7-6.

After Brian Colon intercepted a Page pass to end the next Hilltopper drive, Beech gained the lead with a 4-yard touchdown scamper by Aaron Foxx, pulling ahead 13-7.

After both teams exchanged turnovers, the Bucs gained command of the game when Foxx found the end zone for the second time, this one from 2 yards out, giving Beech a 20-7 lead. However, it was short-lived as Nick Spivey returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, pulling Hillwood to within 20-14.

The Bucs answered with an 11-play, 68-yard drive, capped off by a 16-yard touchdown strike from Caden Cuttrell to Jackson Bryan, giving Beech a 27-14 lead with just 41 seconds remaining in the first half.

However, the Hilltoppers answered again right before the half when Zion Tate found Kyle Carder for a 19-yard touchdown pass on a trick play. This cut the Hillwood deficit to 27-20 at the half.

“Hillwood is a really good offensive team,” Crabtree said. “You just can’t have bad days of practice at this point of the season, and you have to be prepared for anything.”

The Bucs came out and took another two-touchdown lead when Jefferson found pay dirt from 22 yards out, pushing the Beech lead to 34-20 after the first drive of the second half.

Hillwood ate into the Beech lead later in the quarter after a bad snap led to a short punt. From there, Page ran in his second touchdown from 2 yards out. The 2-point try cut the deficit to 34-28.

After a Beech fumble, the Hilltoppers had a chance to take the lead, but a touchdown was called back by a penalty, and the Bucs defense held tough.

The Bucs marched down the field on the following drive, but lost another fumble to give the Hilltoppers another chance.

However, Colon intercepted another Page pass to end a Hillwood scoring threat late in the fourth quarter.

Beech was then stopped on fourth down near midfield, attempting to ice the game. However, the Buccaneer defense held off one final Hilltopper drive to seal the win.

“We were able to get a couple of stops in the second half,” Crabtree said. “That was probably the difference in the game tonight.”

Beech ends the regular season at 7-3 and will host next week’s first round playoff game.

Lady Bucs Come Up "Golden"... Again!

Posted by John Decker at Oct 20, 2018 9:25PM PDT

HENDERSONVILLE – The Lady Bucs have exorcised a few demons this season… knocking off rival White House to win the regular season and tournament title’s… overcoming adversity to come back and win in what most term as “sudden death” but the soccer world refers to as the “Golden Goal” OT period.
Thursday night the Lady Bucs scored with just :19 seconds left in regulation before winning during the “Golden Goal” period and tonight (Saturday), with an opportunity to reach the state tournament for the first time in school history, they did it again. “I think having that experience helped us out, not panicking and getting over the hump of beating White House helped us mentally and emotionally,” said Beech HC John Ferguson.
The game started out fast and Sycamore scored first when a seemingly harmless shot from about 30 yards out by Eagle midfielder Emily Fisher rolled between the hands and feet of Beech goalie Natasia Jones. Jones was visibly shaken, but the Lady Bucs weren’t. The rest of the half was back and forth but Sycamore had outshot the Lady Bucs 9 to 2 and lead 1-0 at halftime.
It took the Lady Bucs nearly 9 minutes to get a shot in the second half and it came off a free kick in the southwest corner. Sydney Sandefur corralled a rebound and punched it past Sycamore GK Emily Robertson to tie the game at the 53’ mark.
Beech continued to put pressure on and two minutes later Kendra Mueller struck a free kick from about 40 yards out over the keeper’s head to put the Lady Bucs up 2-1 and the standing room only crowd exploded at Nathan Johnson Stadium.
The Eagles would not go down without a fight and Fisher knocked one home from the top of the 18 just four minutes later to tie it up at 2 apiece. Lady Buc Jill Fuqua scored of a corner kick at 62’ to put Beech up 3-2 and again Sycamore answered less than a minute later as Reagan Sutton banged one home from about 25 yards out to tie it again at 3.
What a game… both teams swapped a few more chances and at the end of regulation it was 3-3. Sycamore ended up with 16 shots and Beech had 8. The game remained deadlocked throughout the next two 10 minute overtime periods.
Heading into the 5 minute “Golden Goal” OT period you could tell both teams were tired as play slowed compared to the first 100 minutes. Hailey Burroughs ended up with possession outside the 18 box and to the left of goal, she made a move around an Eagle defended and hammered home the game winner from about 25 yards out. Beech had just earned its first trip to compete in the TSSAA State Soccer Tournament. “They figure out a way to give me a heart attack over and over…,” said Ferguson. “Sycamore played tough, we were fortunate to win… sometimes it comes down to somebody doing something great. We could have easily folded after that first goal. This was a goal that the seniors set and how great is it for them to accomplish that.”
The Lady Bucs will play Wednesday at the Siegel Soccer Complex at either 1:30 or 2pm. Other participants in the tourney include Seymour (17-3), Greeneville (11-8-3), East Hamilton (9-12-1), McMinn Central (11-4-1), Nolensville (17-1-1), South Gibson (17-2) and Covington (17-2)
AA Bracket at this URL

Girls Soccer Region 5AA Champions

Posted by John Decker at Oct 19, 2018 8:07AM PDT

It took the Lady Bucs 108 minutes to finish off White House and win thre Region 5AA title for the first time. Kendra Mueller scored on a PK three minutes in to give Beech a 1-0 lead. White House tied it up at 14’ and took the lead just a minute later. It was the first lead that White House had on the Lady Bucs all year.
That lead stuck at the half but just three minutes into the second half Mueller struck again to tie it at 2l After more furious action and over thirty minutes later White House took advantage of Lady Buc goalkeeper Natasia Jones being called for kicking the ball outside of the 18 yard box.
White House was awarded a free kick and converted to go up 3-2 with just 6 minutes remaining in regulation. It didn’t look good for the Lady Bucs but they did not quit fighting back. With :19 on the clock Hailey Burrought dropped one over the keeper and into the net to tie the game at 3.
Neither team was able to score in the first two 10 minute OT periods and it went to the “Golden Goal” round. For those not familiar, “Golden Goal” period consists of two 5 minute periods in which any team that scores wins – in other words, “Sudden Death”.
IF no one scores the game comes down to penalty kicks, commonly referred to as PK’s. The Lady Bucs had three good chances to score in the OT portion but could not capatilize. Heading into the second “Golden Goal” period both teams were tired to say the least. At the 2:35 mark Lady Buc Emma Robertson had a corner kick from the SW corner of the field. The kick was just right as it came down and was headed into the goal by Mueller to end the game as the Lady Bucs defeated White House 4-3 to win the Region 5AA title.
The goal was Mueller’s third of the game giving her a hat trick. Beech will host Sycamore on Saturday night at 7pm. The winner of that game will be in the state tournament. Beech has never made the state tournament before in girls soccer. Everyone should come out and support the girls in their quest to make more HISTORY in 2018!

Bucs Roll Over Gallatin

Posted by Beech High School at Oct 19, 2018 7:42AM PDT

Story Credit: Main Street Preps Photo Credit: Rick Murray

GALLATIN – The Beech Buccaneers tallied 459 total yards of total offense Thursday night in Gallatin as their rushing attack abused the Green Wave to the tune of 431 yards and four scores as Beech cruised to a 38-20 victory.

With the win, Beech moves to 3-1 in league play and into a three-way tie for first place in Region 6-5A. Since 2010, Beech is 7-2 against the Wave, with the only losses coming in 2011 and 2016.

Beech wore Gallatin out mentally and physically, gashing the Wave on the ground time after time. Multiple times, Beech hit the Wave defense with running backs Ja’Sean Parks, TySean Jefferson or Aaron Foxx.

All three backs have the capability of carrying the load, but Beech has the luxury of going to any of them at any given time.

Led by Parks and Jefferson, the duo rushed for 307 yards and four touchdowns while Foxx finished with 124 yards on 15 carries.

“Our kids work hard and I think the weight room is a huge contributor to what we do and I think our kids believe in what we do,” Beech coach Anthony Crabtree said. “They come in every day, ready to work and try to get better. It really has paid off to this point.”

After graduating 2,000-yard back Kaemon Dunlap a year ago, some wondered how the run game would fare with two relatively new backs. Foxx got a lot of playing time last year, while Parks played sparingly – mostly in blowouts. Jefferson, a sophomore, is seeing his first real varsity action this year.

“Our seniors have done a really good job of pushing all of us, including me,” Jefferson said after the win. “The hard work has paid off so far. Our offensive line has done a really good job this year of opening up holes for all of us to run through, and when they are doing that, we just want to run the ball.

“It has been really good for me to share the backfield with those guys (Parks and Foxx),” Jefferson added. “They have really helped guide me and push me this year. Having those guys back there makes things a lot easier.”

Defensively, the Bucs limited Gallatin to less than 300 yards of total offense with 150 coming on three plays – all three resulting in Green Wave touchdowns.

“We have a game plan every week and our base defense allows us make some adjustments to put us in position to make plays,” Crabtree added.

Over the course of the last four weeks, Beech has surrendered just 18 points per game. The loss for Gallatin marks the first region loss of the year for the Green Wave and will unfortunately knock them out of the top spot in Region 6-5A.

“You’ve got to bounce back and keep fighting,” Gallatin coach Mark Williams said. “You don’t sit there and dwell on it. You’ve got to keep fighting, keep digging and find a way to get better each week. We got a region game to finish out next week so we can finish out strong and get into the playoffs with a little momentum.”

Up 17-7 at the half, Beech marched right down the field on its opening possession in the second half, claiming a 17-point lead. It was the next play that changed the momentum.

“It was a momentum change that really put the game in their hands,” Williams added. “We got to make those plays right there and good football teams do that.”

With the defense trotting back on the field after surrounding a score, Beech marched just 30 yards before Ja’Sean Parks scored his second rushing touchdown of the night from 10 yards out, sealing the win for Beech.

Gallatin will travel to Glencliff in Week 11 action, while Beech hosts Hillwood for Senior Night.

“This week won’t be any different than normal, we will come in Monday, install our game plan and try to get everyone healthy and see if we can make it work.”