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Austin's Ashley Jenness (left), battles Decatur High's Meg Adams for the ball during the girls action of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Decatur on Thursday. Decatur won 1-0.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Austin's Ashley Jenness (left), battles Decatur High's Meg Adams for the ball during the girls action of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Decatur on Thursday. Decatur won 1-0.

Early-round knockout
Brewer scores in first minute
to stun defending champs

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

Forty-five seconds into Brewer's early-evening soccer match against Hartselle, the outcome was painfully obvious for the Tigers.

The Patriots' Justin Reed collected a pass from Keith Slater, then deftly pushed the ball past the feet and hands of Hartselle goalkeeper Corey Steele, who could only watch as the ball clanged off the post and into the goal.

Hartselle, the defending champions of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament, never recovered as Brewer rolled to a 3-0 win, claiming the full 10 points and moving into the driver's seat to gain a spot in Saturday's finals.

"It gives us a good chance," said Reed, who also picked up an assist.

"It puts us in a good position."

Brewer outshot Hartselle 14-5, forcing Steele, a sophomore, to keep his teammates in the game.

Late in the match, he collided with a Brewer player and was on the ground for several minutes. He walked off the field under his own power and was set to return when the game finished.

Still, the damage was done long before Steele's injury. In fact, it was done less than a minute into the game, when Steele watched Reed's shot roll past him on the ground.

"Corey went to sleep," Hartselle head coach Darrell Harris said.

Brewer (9-3-1) controlled the match from the outset, owning possession for nearly the entirety of the first half. Three minutes after Reed scored, Kohl Sowder matched him.

Jack Wanschek wisely touched the ball back to Sowder, who followed with a shot right past Steele for a 2-0 lead.

The Patriots weren't done with the Tigers (7-7-1), who beat Priceville 4-0 earlier in the day to begin defense of their championship.

In the 15th minute, Eric Vallejo took a pass from Reed and tapped it to his right. One touch later, Vallejo rifled the ball past Steele.

Hartselle attempted to make a game of it in the second half, holding Brewer to only three shots while recording four of its own. But the Tigers couldn't put the ball in the net.

"I simply said (at halftime), 'You've got to play with heart,' " Harris said. "I told them to play the way I know they can play, and they did."

For Brewer, the game was a stark contrast to its tournament-opener against Decatur, which the Patriots lost 2-1 Tuesday.

"They came in intense," Brewer head coach Michael Drinkard said. "They didn't come out as intense as I would have liked against Decatur. It was a world of difference. They knew they had to get it done."

Decatur leads the boys division with 26 points and will be in the finals barring a complete collapse. Hartselle and Brewer are tied for second with 10 points apiece, but the Patriots own the tiebreaker. West Morgan has eight points and Priceville has zero.

Brewer has games left against Priceville and West Morgan, while Hartselle still must play West Morgan and Decatur.

"We've got to beat Decatur (Friday)," Harris said. "We beat them or tie them, we're still in this tournament."

The tournament already has been sweet for Drinkard's Patriots because of the win over Hartselle.

"It was a big win," he said. "We swept Hartselle this season, and that's always big. Hartselle's a rival."

Morgan County Soccer Tournament

Results of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament played at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Decatur on Thursday.
? Brewer boys 3, Hartselle 0

  • Decatur girls 1, Austin 0

  • Austin 2, Priceville 0

  • Decatur boys 6, West Morgan 0

  • Decatur girls 6, Hartselle 0

  • Brewer 4, West Morgan 0

  • Brewer girls 3, Priceville 0

  • Decatur boys 1, Priceville 0

  • Hartselle boys 4, Priceville 0

  • Hartselle girls 1, West Morgan 0

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