Chattanooga Christian high school principal and soccer coach Shawn Brower recently announced his resignation, effective at the end of the season. Former Chargers coach David Stanton will return to the head coach position.
Brower is 122-29-15 in eight seasons as the Chargers coach. His teams have advanced to six state tournaments, highlighted by the 2011 A/AA state championship a year after CCS lost on penalty kicks in the state final against Boyd-Buchanan. This year's Chargers are 8-1-2, ranked third in A/AA and clinched the District 7 championship Friday in battling to a scoreless tie with Notre Dame.
Brower will become the head coach and upper school principal at Jupiter (Fla.) Christian School. He and his wife were on their way to the Florida school Monday for a meet-and-greet.
"What I'll remember most won't be the outcomes, but the journeys," he said. "It was more than just a sport to us; I did life with my players. Of course a good outcome is more enjoyable, but I remember the one-on-one talks, the bus rides, the retreats and phone calls with the players.
"It's been a grieving time for my family. One of the single most difficult things I've done is to leave CCS soccer."
Stanton started the program in 1973 and coached for 32 seasons before giving way to Brower. Stanton led the Chargers to the 2001 state championship and five other state tournaments and won another title with the girls in 1997.
The Heritage girls' soccer team inched closer to its second consecutive region championship Monday, defeating Cass 2-1 in the Georgia Region 7-AAAA semifinals.
The Lady Generals, the top seed from the North subregion, got a first-half goal from Katelyn Beekman and the game-winner from leading scorer Courtney Bell in overtime to clinch a spot in this afternoon's final against River Ridge.
Heritage is 16-0 and ranked second in the state in Class AAAA. Despite losing only one starter from last season -- goalkeeper Amber Burton -- coach Stacy Dunfee has had to do a lot of mixing and matching in her lineups, especially after Gracie Grant, who was recruited off the volleyball team, went down with a back injury.
The Lady Generals have a Division I keeper -- junior Shelby Mullinax, who has committed to Troy University -- on the roster, but initially Dunfee tried to keep her in the field due to her ball skills. Dunfee ultimately moved freshman Olivia Tamewitz to fill the stopper role, moving Cassidy Bell into Mullinax's vacant midfielder spot.
"We knew we would be pretty good this year, but we really had to fill Amber's void," Dunfee said. "It looks good on paper that we returned 10 starters, but she was such an important piece of the puzzle for us."
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe girls' soccer coach Jonathan Schneider admitted Monday he would have had "no answer" if people asked about the Lady Warriors' chances of repeating as league champs as they moved into a new region and had to replace a few key pieces from 2012.
But LFO is 16-1, 13-0 in Region 5-AAA, and has ascended to No. 9 in the latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution soccer rankings.
"We're a completely different team this year," Schneider said. "We returned all of our defense, and we've been able to find ways to keep teams at bay and hit the back of the net some. We're not depending on any one player to create offense for us; we've been working on distributing the ball around, and we're able to attack from any direction."
Ringgold's girls, No. 2 in 5-AAA, is ranked 10th in the state, while Calhoun is third in Class AA.
Dalton's boys are ranked first in Class AAAA, with Northwest Whitfield -- their opponent in the Region 7 championship game -- fifth and Southeast Whitfield ninth. North Murray's boys are ranked seventh in Class AAA, while Calhoun's boys are second and Murray County's boys are eighth in AA.
The Ooltewah boys slid into the Eurosportscoreboard.com rankings for Tennessee, at 11th in Class AAA. Baylor's boys were ranked first in the latest Division II-AA poll, updated on April 16, but suffered a 1-0 setback to No. 2 Montgomery Bell Academy last Friday. McCallie was sixth in that poll.
Chattanooga Christian's boys are third, Notre Dame seventh and East Hamilton ninth in Class A/AA.
The Boyd-Buchanan soccer Buccaneers have aspirations as to where they would like eventually to rise. During a three-game losing streak earlier in the season, the Bucs got a taste of that level in matches they lost a combined 10-0, including defeats at the hands of Christ Presbyterian Academy and Southeast Whitfield.
Yet just as they have reacted after their six wins, they simply moved on.
The Bucs recently clinched the top seed in District 5-A/AA, having a 4-0 mark with a match against McMinn Central on Thursday. As East Hamilton has done in 6-A/AA, CCS in 7-A/AA and Ooltewah in 5-AAA, they have taken care of business on the way to a regular-season title.
"What's been good is that this team takes lessons from each game," Boyd-Buchanan coach Dustin Walker said. "This group doesn't get too high if we win or too low if we lose; I think it says a lot about our leadership."
The Hixson girls' tennis team claimed its first district regular-season championship since 2001 in defeating Arts & Sciences 5-1 on Monday. The Lady Wildcats (10-4, 9-0) clinched the match during the singles round and didn't play doubles.
Hixson coach Raul Fernandez knew coming into the season that his team had a lot of potential to make such a run, but he found the going a little tougher than he expected.
"I kind of knew that this would be the team to do it," Fernandez said, noting that he had played three freshmen in his top six a couple of years ago. "I expected us to walk away with the district, but we ended up fighting tooth-and-nail to get it done.
"We're going to enjoy the fact that it's happened."
The Soddy-Daisy girls clinched the 5-AAA title Monday with a win over Rhea County, while Boyd-Buchanan and Collegedale are tied atop 5-A/AA, having split their regular-season matches. Signal Mountain, Notre Dame and CCS will play in the next week to settle who will represent 7-A/AA in the postseason, as they do not have a district tournament.
It took one more year that he might have expected, but Ooltewah tennis coach Ken Buchanan has his boys' tennis team on the cusp of claiming its first district title since 2008. The Owls inched closer to that claim Monday, defeating Bradley Central 9-0 to improve to 10-0 in the district.
The Owls still have matches against Cleveland today and McMinn County on Thursday.
"We had a talented team last year, but we couldn't get our heads wrapped around the fact that we were talented and didn't realize it until it was too late," Buchanan said. "We set that as our goal and have put ourselves in a position where we have a strong chance of advancing."
Collegedale's boys have a strong hold on the 5-A/AA race, while Hixson and Arts & Sciences are battling it out for the 6-A/AA title, with the Wildcats needing a win on May 1 to clinch the title and the Patriots needing a win to split the crown.