BRENTWOOD — There is always drama when Brentwood and Franklin get together on the soccer field.
Wednesday night in the district 11-AAA semifinals just added to the lore of the rivalry.
Brentwood, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 7 nationally, got a bizarre goal by Eric Bowen for a 1-0 victory to advance to Thursday’s championship game against No. 3 seed Independence, who defeated Centennial 2-0.
Bowen’s goal game as Franklin goalkeeper John Shaw tried to clear a ball out of his zone. But Bowen was hustling and Shaw kicked the ball off Bowen’s stomach, making the ball ricochet over Shaw’s head and into the net.
“I think that was the craziest goal I have seen in all my years of soccer,” Brentwood head coach Mike Purcell said. “For it to be the game-winner was wild but it’s always a tough game when we play Franklin, we did just enough to win.”
“I was just trying to hustle on the play,” Bowen said of the goal. “I thought we needed a boost of energy and I was just trying to make a play.”
“But for it to be the game-winner is amazing, but I feel like our defense did a great job especially when we were a man down.”
The score held up even as the Bruins (17-0-0) played with a man down the last 18 minutes of the game. Still, they had to escape some late chances by Franklin.
The match got dramatic at the 58-minute mark of the match, when the Bruins’ leading goal scorer, Bradley Jacobs, ran over Shaw. Then Franklin’s Alex McCubbin shoved Jacobs to the ground.
The referee instantly gave Jacobs a red card, which was an automatic ejection. McCubbin got a yellow card.
Jacobs, a University of Memphis signee, will now have to set out the Bruins’ next two contests as punishment.
“I think our guys stepped it up after the red card,” Franklin head coach Steve Parker said. “We changed our tactics a little by going to three forwards, we were just unlucky.”
Brentwood had to withstand two really good Franklin chances as Rebel senior Wiley Davis executed a bicycle kick that Bruin goalkeeper Jordan Leedle barely got a hand on to save.
The Rebels again had a golden opportunity as senior striker Alex Booth was about to take a shot, but Bruin defender and Belmont signee Danny Rayburn broke the play up before Booth was able to shoot.
“Even after we lost Bradley, I still had faith in our defense,” Purcell said. “We were a man down but it didn’t hurt us defensively and I think the guys did a great job.”
Independence 2, Centennial 0: The No. 3 seeded Eagles (13-2-1) got an unusual goal as two Independence players went for the ball and a Centennial defender hit the ball past Centennial goalkeeper Miguel Valadez for the Independence goal.
The Eagles added a goal in the second half as freshman Kyle McGehee beat Valadez to give Independence a two goal cushion.
Independence got revenge for a 2-1 regular season defeat at the hands of the Cougars.
Brentwood, ranked seventh nationally by the Adidas/National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association, defeated Independence 5-0 during the regular season.