COLLEGEDALE — When Bradley Central’s Esteban Beltramin was able to quickly get a goal past the East Hamilton keeper Saturday afternoon, it seemed as if the momentum was in the Bears’ favor.
Unfortunately for Bradley, things soon shifted in favor of the Hurricanes.
Bradley was unable to get anything else in the back of the net, and saw their season come to a close with a 3-1 loss in the District 5-AAA quarterfinals.
“Despite losing, I feel like these guys are winners. They have a winning mentality and don’t believe that they are going to lose, even when they go down,” head coach Tucker Blackmon declared. “This was our third winning season in four years, so I’m happy. This is my favorite Bradley team and that’s saying something.”
The Hurricanes were able to quickly tie things up 1-all thanks to a goal by Jack Fletcher, and then the teams were locked in a dead heat for the next 30 minutes of play.
East Hamilton’s second point came from a penalty kick by Cooper Loftin in the final minutes of the half.
Trailing 2-1 at the start of the second half, the Bears attempt at making a come back became that much harder following the third and final Hurricane goal, which came from Fletcher in the 55th minute.
Despite controlling the ball for the remainder of the match, Bradley was not able to decrease their deficit.
“I think the game gives and takes away. They were given a goal, and that kind of changed the momentum. To be fair, East Hamilton scored two legitimate goals. Once again, just like the whole season, we hung tight,” Blackmon stated. “The ball stayed in East Hamilton’s end for the last 25 minutes and we were knocking on the door. We fought hard.”
With the win, East Hamilton travels north to take on Cleveland at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in the District 5-AAA semifinals.
Meanwhile, the Bears will now focus on the future as a large number of graduating seniors has opened up many leadership roles.
“I think there are a lot of players who are in position to be leaders next season. We have some great players that will be returning,” Blackmon said.
HURRICANES 3, BEARS 1
Halftime score: 1-all. Goals: Esteban Beltramin (BC); Jack Fletcher 2, Cooper Loftin (EH). Record: Bradley Central 8-5-3; East Hamilton (7-7-2).