Bengals once again claim region crown in boys soccer
May 23, 2019 02:12PM
● By Josh McFadden
Along with Josh Loomis, Alex Fankhauser (pictured here) helped lead the Bengals attack netting 13 goals in the regular season. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
For the second consecutive season, the Brighton boys soccer team brought home top honors in league play.
Brighton completed an excellent run through the region schedule, going 9-1 in Region 7. The Bengals’ only loss in league action came at the hands of Corner Canyon on April by the score of 2-1. The team was unblemished in every other game it played during the regular season, as the team amassed a 14-1 record.
The Bengals edged out Alta for the region crown, giving the Hawks their only two league defeats. Brighton defeated their rivals 3-0 on April 23 and 2-1 in the region finale on May 9 on the road. In the second game between the longtime foes, Chandler Turpin and Josh Loomis tallied goals in the title-clinching win.
In many games, Brighton won going away. The Bengals posted one-sided victories of three goals or more in five region contests. They routed Timpview 8-1 on April 16 and 6-0 on May 3. The team also posted two other 3-0 shutouts in addition to the first of two wins over Alta. Corner Canyon seemed to be the only squad that could generate much offense against the Bengals. The Chargers scored a combined five goals in the teams’ two meetings, but no other opponent managed more than two goals against Brighton all season.
In winning Region 7 for the second time in a row, Brighton also fielded a potent offense. The dynamic duo of Loomis and Alex Fankhauser led the attack by scoring 27 goals between them — 14 for Loomis and 13 for Fankhauser. Brennan Neeley chipped in six goals, while Brayden Austin had five. Brighton scored an average of 3.5 goals in region play and tallied 53 goals during the regular season, second most in 5A. A total of 13 players scored for Brighton.
Harrison Nuttall manned the goal and posted nine shutouts. He allowed a single goal in four other outings.
Brighton’s trip to the state tournament started off a little tougher than some might have expected. The Bengals hosted Woods Cross, the fourth-seeded team from Region 5, but the game was hardly an easy one for Brighton. The Wildcats pushed Brighton to its limits, but the Bengals finally put a ball in the net in the second half, courtesy of Loomis. The 1-0 victory advanced Brighton to the quarterfinals against West at home on May 17, where the Bengals dispatched its opponenet 2-1 with a second half goal from London Botelho.
The Bengals semifinal was an event-filled spectacle. A 2-0 lead over Skyridge (thanks to a first-half goal from Loomis and a superb free kick from Brennan Neeley) disappeared after two second half goals from the Falcons. But Cameron Neeley struck the decisive goal with five minutes left to lead Brighton to the 5A state title, played after our deadline on May 23.