Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SPORTS>>Searcy’s victory was in the cards

Leader sportswriter

Make it four for four.

The Searcy Lions won their fourth-consecutive 6A state soccer championship with a 4-0 shutout over Mountain Home on Friday night at Razorback Field in Fayetteville. It was the third finals victory over Mountain Home in as many years.

The Bombers (11-5-1) shot themselves in the foot with five yellow cards and two red cards during the match, and the infractions forced them to finish the match short two players.

Junior forward Steven Seitz scored two goals to cap off a standout tournament run and earned MVP honors for the Lions (18-1-1).

“To start the game off, they were playing really good like we thought they would be,” Lions coach Bronco King said. “I told our kids to be ready for Mountain Home’s best game, and it started out that way.

“There were five or six times where we could have scored and didn’t. We just kept plugging.”

Searcy rebounded from some early near misses when Seitz got behind the defense and charged toward the net in the 27th minute. That drew heavy contact from Bombers defender Brock Barnhill, who officials said tackled Seitz in the box.

Barnhill drew a red card and Seitz converted the penalty kick to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.

“Whether he tackled him or not, I just call it a foul,” King said. “You can’t make contact like that inside the box, and the referee said he tackled him, which warranted a red card. Steven Seitz got behind the defense, and once we put a goal in, we got into our normal routine and played lights out the rest of the way.”

Mountain Home’s problems compounded in the second half when Phillip Walker was ejected for bad sportsmanship.

“That young man coming out of the game changed their strategy,” King said. “It takes them out of their game.”

The Lions kept their composure despite the rough play. King said the past experience against the Bombers had his players prepared for any situation.

“I’m one of those old-school coaches,” King said. “I went back and watched the film from the two previous games.

“I’m a disciplinarian. They understand that they will be in more trouble with me than they will anything else. They know they’ll be dealt with.

“I’m more interested in them being fine young men than I am championships.”

Brandon Treece put Searcy up 2-0 at the break with a goal in the final 10 minutes of the first half, and the Lions took a 3-0 lead early in the second half with a goal by Trey Oliveto.

Seitz provided the exclamation mark with his second goal in the final three minutes. The MVP award marked a fitting end for
Seitz, who led the Lions in scoring all season and had seven goals during the tournament, including three against Jonesboro in the semifinals.

“Seitz is a fierce competitor,” King said. “When he gets that adrenaline going, he’s hard to handle. He has a real big leg; he can boom the ball. He’s our leading scorer, and he’s also our field-goal kicker in football, so he pulls double duty.”

King also praised the efforts of Oliveto and Harriman and defenders Andrew Moore, Evan Scarborough and Ben Buterbaugh.