With one of East Hamilton's top attackers sidelined a promising standout stepped up in the first half to help propel the Hurricanes to a second straight District 7-AA soccer championship with Wednesday's dominant 7-0 home shutout over Sequoyah.
Maddux Seal nearly had a hat trick by the 29th minute as he weaved past a defender on the top right side of the box and hammered a shot that the keeper barely prevented from going between his legs for a goal.
Seal made his presence felt early, showing patience in the box as he shielded a defender for his first score three minutes into the title bout. He received a great cross from the left sideline by Garrett Loftin that he controlled in the middle of the box and sent to the back right corner in the 19th minute for a 2-0 lead.
"Maddux is very smart technically and tactically and is pretty poised for how young he is," East Hamilton coach Patrick Daverson said. "He is a go-to guy and really stepped up with our top playmaker Dawson Bovell out tonight. Maddux is a guy who is out here when nobody else is and you can see it in his game. He is always working and trying to play his best soccer."
While Seal shined in the first half, the Hurricanes (12-5-1) often settled for too many 30-40 yard shots, which had coaches pleading from the sideline for players to look up and find teammates to move the ball in closer for higher percentage looks.
East Hamilton's Hussein Baniahmad did just that early in the second half when he guided a perfect pass through the middle to a racing Brayden Hunter for a beautiful uncontested score to take a 3-0 lead.
Ethan Hixson stood out in the victory defensively along with center back Brannon Smith, who is a captain along with star keeper Carston Finch. Hixson nearly scored on several header attempts off corner kicks and did find the back right corner of the net with a powerful free kick from 25-yards out.
Hunter assisted Connor Lloyd on a corner kick as both players shined in the second half having a hand in two goals. Judson Kilpatrick also scored late for the district champions who will host a region tournament game next Tuesday against the loser from Thursday's District 8-AA championship match between Red Bank (13-4-2) and Soddy-Daisy (14-2-1).
"For us to be as young as we are and clicking is really great to see," said Daverson, whose team only has two seniors. "Our next game in the region tournament is a must win and we have to be ready to play our best soccer at any given moment. We have a very talented group and if we all work together there is a chance to go far."
> Bledsoe County 14, Monterey 0: The Lady Warriors needed just five innings to easily secure the District 5-AA championship and improve to 28-1 overall. Kamry Holland drove in four runs, Macy Holland plated three, while Autumn Cooley had three hits and Ella Baker allowed just three hits and struck out eight for the win.
East Hamilton's Zoey Burgner and Will Harden both won District 6-AA singles championships while Ethan Prichard and Josh Hales teammed up to win the doubles championship at Hixson High School on Tuesday. Harden was dominant winning the singles title with a 12-1 scoring advantage.