Both fall 6-0
It took four times, but Pigeon Forge took the regional crown home from G-P’s Hammond Field. Zack Shrant’s goal on an assist by Victor Gomez came six minutes into the contest and the Tigers made it stand up. The long shot came from about twenty yards out and just slipped by G-P goalie John Miley.
Friday’s regional final was the fourth meeting between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg this season. The Highlanders had given the Tigers three of their four losses in the season, taking the regular season district crown and the tournament crown, but Pigeon Forge made a 1-0 score stand up to win the fourth meeting and claim the first Regional Title for PFHS athletics.
Paul Wightman kept the Highlanders out of the net for the game, backed up by solid defense through the muggy afternoon game that had been rescheduled due to Thursday’s storms. Wightman had twelve saves against quality shots by G-P.
The hot afternoon game on Friday appeared to take something from both teams on Saturday. Gatlinburg-Pittman traveled to meet Christian Academy of Knoxville in the early game. CAK won 4-3 through a 3-1 shootout against second ranked Lenoir City on Thursday. The mud battle was tied after regulation and remained knotted after four overtimes, leading to the shoot-out.
The extra day of rest was good for CAK. Coming out quickly on the damp field, the Warriors took control early and took a 6-0 win over the Highlanders(14-5-1) to advance to the eight team state tournament. CAK moves to 14-2-3 on the season, the two losses coming in the regular season to Lenoir City and Gibbs.
Pigeon Forge had the same score under different conditions. Lenoir City went ahead early in the first half on two goals by Logan Monday. The Tigers kept the Panthers frustrated the rest of the half but LC’s Geraldo Gonzalez kept the Tigers out of the net as well.
Pigeon Forge got things going on their end of the field early in the second, but close shots were stopped by Lenoir City’s other senior keeper Brent Ambercrombie. A free kick just outside the box was blocked by Panther defenders, but Tiger Victor Gomez took a sizzling rebound shot. Ambercrombie managed to make the stop with his fingertips.
Fatigue caught up with Pigeon Forge as Lenoir City shuffled players through out the half. The plan worked as the Panthers netted four more goals over the last thirteen minutes for a 6-0 win.
Lenoir City (21-2-1) moves on to Memphis for the Spring Fling where they will face top seeded Ridgeway in the first round. Pigeon Forge (13-5) will stay home, but have the benefit of the first regional championship trophy for the school’s trophy case.