BLOUNTSVILLE - St. Bernard Prep concluded the first week of April successfully on the soccer field, defeating J.B. Pennington 4-1 in a Friday matinee at William Sutton Memorial Stadium.
St. Bernard takes momentum into a crucial match next Tuesday at New Hope in Area 7 of 1A/3A play. Getting two victories away from campus this week puts the Saints right where they want to be in the quest for a berth to the AHSAA playoffs later this month.
The Saints were up against a lively atmosphere thanks to the J.B. Pennington's student body, who riled up the Tigers as the match began. But five minutes into the contest, the Saints had their first goal and were on top for the rest of the way.
Christian Garcia got a pass to Miguel Sanchez who drove the ball into the net for a 1-0 Saints advantage.
St. Bernard had a few more chances to add to the lead, but were turned away by Pennington's play at goa. They were also affected by four offside calls that took away the opportunity for scoring situations.
Goalkeeper Anthony Diaz did his job for the Saints, keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard. He fought off three shot attempts in the first half with St. Bernard clinging to a one-goal lead at intermission.
St. Bernard started a controlled attack of the Pennington zone less than 15 minutes into the second half. Christian Peterson produced a goal, extending the Saints' cushion to 2-0.
Five minutes later, the Saints attacked the area once more with Michael Bain putting a pass right where Peterson could finish it off for his second goal of the afternoon. St. Bernard was up by 3-0 with Pennington unable to make a serious run.
The final tally for the Saints came with five minutes remaining when Lexess Dallegos got into the scoring frame of mind. St. Bernard led 4-0 and was working on its second consecutive shutout of the week.
That was almost accomplished until the final 30 seconds when the Tigers got the ball deep into the Saints' zone and kicked it by Diaz and a couple of defenders.
St. Bernard scored three goals on 10 second-half shot attempts after getting just four chances in the first 40 minutes.
Coach John Drake's Saints have won three in a row and outscored the opposition 20-1. The Saints won at West Point 9-0 earlier this week in their first assignment following spring break.
"It was a great atmosphere to be a part off," Drake said afterwards about playing in front of a student body in the early afternoon. "We played well as a team."
St. Bernard is now 5-3 for the season and has a 2-1 record when the Saints resume Area 7 play Tuesday at New Hope. The rest of the schedule is area games with New Hope, at Whitesburg Christian April 18 and vs. Tanner at home on April 25.
The girls' game was canceled due to a conflict with the Lady Saints. St. Bernard is 5-2 after a 3-1 win on April 4 at West Point. They stand 3-1 in area play when the Lady Saints go to New Hope Tuesday.
Update on J.B. Pennington High School:
Portable classrooms have been brought to the J.B. Pennington campus after the library and media room caught fire on March 21. Students have been relocated to the gymnasium and Blountsville Elementary in the meantime.
The rooms are getting ready for students to enter and should be by complete sometime next week. The main building suffered water and smoke damage with the library room and media room completely destroyed.
Funds are being raised to support rebuilding the library and media center.
J.B. Pennington's Lady Tigers played that same evening and defeated Fairview 2-1 to offset a day of tragedy for the school and community.
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