"Coachability. Dependability. Character. Heart. One family."
These were words used by Coach Russ Gladden to describe the Thomson Middle School soccer team's championship season.
"From day one of practice we knew we had something special. These kids played with heart and sportsmanship in practice and in the games," he said.
The Thomson Middle school soccer team, coached by Gladden and Julie Gerlach capped a successful season in the Super 10 championship tournament played in Wrens on April 2. The Bulldogsdefeated the Wrens Colts 3-0. The key to the victory was scoring early and keeping the ball on the Bulldog offensive end.
The Colts had a limited number of chances to score, but each time either shot wide or were denied by goalie Jau'tabitha Hordens.
Thomson scored within the first three minutes on a shot from forward Mark Howard. The second goal came later in the half when Quitney Hordens went in close, coming from the left with a shot that was denied. The goalie failed to come up with the ball, and in a tangle of feet, Hordens finally tapped the ball through.
The second half featured many of the reserve players who continued to hold Wrens scoreless. Thomson's third goal was a result of Josh Unoker's head-high kick from the right corner which was headed in by a Wrens player who attempted to block the shot.
Following the game the players were awarded the Super Ten League Championship Trophy. The TMS Bulldogs finished with a 7-1-1 record.
"This was a great soccer year for the Bulldogs. We had a good balance of talented players who were team-oriented and whose skills complemented each other. In addition to that we were able to do a lot of substitution and not have a drop in the quality of play," said Coach Gerlach. "I can't say enough about the parent support and the caliber of our team members."
On the year, the Bulldogs scored 23 goals to their opponents' 5. Two of the opponents' goals were from penalty kicks. There were no goals scored against the bulldogs on breakaways or corner kicks.
The championship roster included: Katie Austin, Holley Barker, Casey Brooks, Najellica Burnett, Tresvantis "Pop" Chambliss, Mary Catherine Finnerty, Dustin Gunby, Chris Harrison, Whitney Hillman,Jau'tabitha Hordens, Quitney Hordens, Mark Howard, Chelsea Jones, Jordan Lewis, David Lyons, James McCain, Matthew McEver, Whitney Morgan, Stephanie Taylor, Courtney Timmerman, Josh Unokur, Steven Thompson, Jake Walters, and Josh Withrow. Team managers were: Walker Barmore, Kayla Bieltz, Brittney Holderfield, Sarah Kellogg, and Jay Bieltz. The coaching staff included Ben Davall, volunteer skills coach.