Troy 18U Arsenal win state title
The 18U FC Troy Arsenal were not fazed by the bump to the higher age level. They were not fazed by a tough first game of the 2008 state tournament. The Arsenal, comprised of mostly 16 year olds, was focused on one thing and that was repeating as state champs.
The Arsenal took out Dothan 6-0 in the championship game of the round robin tournament in Dothan Saturday night. This is the second straight state title for the 18U team. They won last year in the 15U age division.
“We felt Dothan was the best team in the tournament besides us,” Troy head coach Doug McLendon said. “So we were really charged up and ready to go tonight.”
McLendon said great passing and great possession skills helped the Troy team to a 2-0 lead at halftime. Troy came out of the gates firing and put four more goals through in the second half.
McLendon said the key to the victory was simple.
“If you have possession of the ball, then the other team can’t score and you can beat anybody,” he said. “It is like having a great running game in football. If you can run plays and pick up yards all the time, it is hard for another team to beat you. It is the same way with our team. It was just a great day for us and we are so proud of our team.”
McLendon said the Arsenal played good team ball all day and they even made sure not to let up like they did in the opening game of the tournament against Prattville in a 2-1 win.
“The kids were telling each other at the half to keep up the possession game and keep attacking,” McLendon said.
Michael Salmon opened the scoring for the Arsenal and Nick Mobley added the other goal in the first half. Josh Taylor, Douglas McLendon, Corey Lee and Salmon all added goals in the second half.
Against Prattville in the opening game of the tournament Troy scored two early goals as well and sat on the lead, but Prattville scored in the second half to cut the lead in half.
McLendon’s bunch hung in there and grabbed the victory. Dothan beat Prattville in the game before the Troy vs. Prattville game, which is what made the Dothan vs. Troy game the championship game.
“We came out and played really aggressive in the beginning against Prattville,” McLendon said. “We had good passing, but the Prattville defenders and goalie did a good job of keeping the game close.”
The Arsenal did not seem to be bothered by the 2-1 close game.
“Our defense stiffened up after they scored a goal and Brian Salmon led the defensive effort,” McLendon said. “They played smart and mature and locked it down.”
Douglas McLendon and Nick Mobley each had a goal for the Arsenal against Prattville.