Bengals win region boys soccer with undefeated league record
May 21, 2018 02:07PM
● By Josh McFadden
Senior midfielder Kaleo Dutro-Raymond controls the ball against Cottonwood during a region game. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Playing against the likes of Alta, Timpview and Corner Canyon is no easy task, but the Brighton boys soccer team didn’t seem too bothered. The Bengals captured the Region 7 crown with an 8-0-2 mark.
The Bengals also finished the regular season with a 10-1-5 record, allowing just 18 goals all season long.
Brighton’s defense shut out opponents four times in region play, including a season-ending 2-0 victory over second-place Alta on May 10. Alex Fankhauser and David Brog scored for Brighton, and Thomas Jensen got the shutout. The victory was payback against the Hawks, who managed to tie the Bengals 1-1 when the teams first met on April 24.
The Bengals proved to play well in games down the stretch, as six of the team’s eight victories came by two goals or fewer. The two exceptions were in victories over Corner Canyon (4-0 on May 1) and Cottonwood (5-1 on May 8).
Brog led the way in scoring during the regular season with 10 goals. The senior was consistent, notching goals in nine games. His season best was two goals in the May 8 win over Cottonwood. Senior Jake Babcock, freshman Cameron Neeley and Fankhauser each contributed four goals in the regular season. Senior Traedon Chamberlain had three goals, and six other Bengals registered goals during non-region and region play.
Brighton entered the Class 5A state tournament with plenty of momentum. The team’s last and only loss came way back on March 20 at Skyline. The Bengals were riding a streak of seven wins in eight outings as the postseason began.
With its first-place finish, Brighton secured Region 7’s top seed and drew a home matchup with Maple Mountain, the fourth seed from Region 8, in the Class 5A state tournament first round on May 16. Brighton held a slim 1-0 halftime lead in the first-round game but added three goals in the second half to easily pull away. Fankhauser, Brog, Josh Loomis and Kaleo Dutro-Raymond each scored in the tournament opener. Harrison Nuttall played goalie in the game and earned the shutout.
The Bengals advanced to the quarterfinals where it defeated Roy, the second-place team in Region 5, on May 18. The Bengals now move on to the state semifinals where they will play Region 5's Viewmont on Tuesday May 22 at 2:00 p.m. That game will takes place at Woods Cross.
Brighton placed third in 5A’s Region 3 last season and dropped a first-round playoff game to American Fork. It was the second straight season Brighton bowed out after the first postseason game. The team advanced to the 5A championship in 2015 where it lost to Alta 2-1. The Bengals also lost title games in 2011 and 2012. They last won a state championship in 2009 when they blanked Layton 4-0 in the 5A title game.
For next season, Brighton must replace 12 varsity players. The Bengals do bring back Fankhauser and Neeley, as well as six other contributors from this year’s squad and has a solid group of junior varsity players in the program as well.