By MAREN ANGUS
Station Camp boy’s soccer head coach Thomas Morand knew his team had a shot at winning another TSSAA State Championship early on. Why wouldn’t he? He had the roster for it.
“(This is) the most talented roster I’ve had in 28 years,” Morand said.
When the team’s leading assist guy, Christian Sanchez, went down with a knee injury in the district finals, Morand still believed his team was going to Spring Fling and they did.
In the school’s 16-year history, Morand has turned the soccer program in a powerhouse. The Bison reached the State Tournament for the first time as a AA program in 2008 and reached the Final Four in 2009.
The move to AAA didn’t slow them down, if anything, they got better. On Friday, Station Camp became the sixth program to ever win back-to-back state titles.
“It takes a whole group of people to make something like this happen,” Morand said. “Last year was the first team championship in our school’s history but to go back-to-back (is really special.).”
The Bison reached the finals for the third consecutive year after beating Houston 2-1 and then against Bearden, Tyler Jessen re-aggravated a knee injury but came away with a 3-0 win.
“It’s pretty darn special to go down in the history books like that,” Morand said.
The probability of winning another state title quickly became a reality but the Bison had to get through the hometown Blackman Blaze.
“We felt that we could really put some pressure on them if we came out quick and that’s what we did,” Morand said. “It was a great effort.”
Junior Josh Street got the Bison on the scoreboard just over two minutes into the contest when he received a pass from freshman Donovan Smith. Station Camp had full control from then as Blackman could only get three shots off the entire game, two on goal.
“The back line has to be a unit. We don’t sub very much unless they get tired,” Morand said. “Once we find the group that can work together, we stick with them and have two guys who can fill in, in case of injuries.”
“The defense was unbelievable but that’s part of being on this team. You can’t be on this team if you’re not going to play defense. We pride ourselves in that and I think it shows when we play.”
Freshman Cade Maclean extended the lead to 2-0 with a header into the right corner off Riley Indermuehle’s corner kick at the 54:52 mark of the second half. Spencer Miller, junior, sealed the win with the Bison’s third goal at 67:08 when he took a pass from Smith and headed one into the upper corner.
“I wouldn’t call us a dynasty but we’ve reached the pinnacle right now,” Morand said. “When you do things like this, kids want to come to your school and play, so hopefully we keep working hard and feel this (win) some more in the future.”