Eagles end three-year title drought
Published 5:19 pm Saturday, May 14, 2011
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
HUNTSVILLE — Oak Mountain High School boys’ soccer coach Ryan Patridge had few words and emotions left following the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A Final Four at John Hunt Park in Huntsville.
After watching the Eagles capture their fourth AHSAA Class 6A championship in school history following back-to-back wins against unbeaten opponents in Vestavia Hills and Enterpise, Patridge had little left in the tank following a Gatorade bath from his players.
“I’m drained,” Patridge said.
His Oak Mountain players felt the same way after battling to a 1-0 win over Enterprise in the AHSAA Class 6A championship match.
The Eagles captured the state title in the one-goal victory after Reid Biasco pounded the ball into the right side of the net, following a touch by Caleb Thomas, on a cross from Chandler Stroupe. Biasco’s goal in the 28th minute of the contest was one of the rare scoring opportunities for either team in the match.
Oak Mountain goalkeeper Brenton Thompson recorded two saves in more than 73 minutes of action. Backup Brad Louis, who relieved Thompson for a little more than six minutes in the championship match, also helped the Eagles post a shutout.
Senior John Imwalle was named the AHSAA Class 6A tournament’s most valuable player. Patridge said Imwalle, who directed the Eagles’ offensive formations, will be difficult to replace next season.
“He’s going to leave a big shirt to fill,” Patridge said.
Oak Mountain advanced to the AHSAA Class 6A championship after knocking off previously undefeated Vestavia Hills, a bitter rival this season. The Eagles benefitted from an own goal by the Rebels early in the contest and held off several late charges by Vestavia Hills at the end of the match.
Patridge said he was concerned about the Eagles having fresh legs after handing Vestavia Hills its first loss of the season in the fourth meeting between the two teams this year.
“(Championship matches) are a war of attrition,” Patridge said. “Hats off to Enterprise. Our seniors made sure everyone was focused.”
Oak Mountain, which last won an AHSAA Class 6A title in 2008, picked up a championship in its first appearance back in the title match in three years.
“It’s nice,” Patridge said. “For lack of a better word, definitely, it’s nice. The boys worked hard.”