STORY BY MITCHELL STEPHENSON | PHOTO BY CARL EDMONDSON, JR.
The Brentwood Bruins won a gut-wrenching battle against the Smyrna Bulldogs 3-2 to advance to the Class AAA state championship.
The Bruins scored took a 2-0 into halftime off goals by Oliver Joyner with an assist from Blake Chalfant at the 30 minute mark. Chalfant assisted on the second goal at the 38 minute mark of the first as his pass set up Naseem AbuSalim for the score
In the second half Smyrna made adjustments and upped the intensity on defense and offense. They dominated the tempo of the half but with one play Michael Burke was able to set up an assist to Kieran Elliott for the third goal at the 19 minute mark of the half.
From this point on the Bulldogs showed extreme heart, and determination. They pushed the Bruins and fought back with two goals.
After Smyrna had several near misses at scoring all half Jose Bustilll scored an electrifying goal at the 22 minute mark, firing up his squad. Omar Arradi was able to get Smyrna’s second goal quickly after at the 25 minute mark. It seemed Smyrna was on track for the upset.
Even when the Bruins were poised to score Smyrna displayed grit and came together as a team to cut off seams and steal balls away at the last second preventing several scores. But the Bruins themselves were able to hold off several more attempts at goal the remainder of the game. After the game the team celebrated with their fans.
After the game Brentwood coach Mike Purcell stated, “It just shows a 3-0 lead isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And what a great comeback by Smyrna. We kind of sit back just a tad. It’s the first time all year I noticed we had that lapse. And Smyrna ratcheted it up, man. And they put it to us there. Even in our flurries we has two or three goals we needed to put away, and we didn’t.
“Hats off to Smyrna, and hats off to our guys playing a great first half. And obviously the third goal was an important goal. It was a good game. It was enjoyable for the fans and players. And I think our guys deserve to go to state.”