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Rec soccer state tournament: 18-U

Yet another state championship is headed back to Troy, this after the 18-U soccer team clinched its third straight state title by defeating Eufaula 11-1 on the second day of the ARPA State Championships in Dothan.

“The thrill of this never gets old,” said head coach Doug McLendon. “We had a close win over Prattville yesterday to get us to this game, and I’m just real proud of our kids for having the nerves of steel to get us here.”

The win was made even more impressive by the fact that Troy had no substitute players, meaning all 11 players had to play the entire game for Troy.

“We had no subs today, so playing with 11 men against a team that has subs, you have to have a great deal of endurance and fortitude to finish a game like that,” McLendon said.

Douglas McLendon led the team in scoring with four goals, including three goals in the second half.

The younger McLendon said there was no dropoff from Saturday’s Troy team to the short-handed Sunday team.

“We worked really well together today,” Douglas McLendon said. “Even with losing players, I feel like we weren’t any weaker as a team than we were the rest of the weekend.”

There was no weakness anywhere on the Troy team, as it built a 3-0 halftime lead before exploding for eight second half goals to win 11-1 and end the match early due to mercy rule.

“Eufaula had a really good scheme, but we managed to work out the problems,” Doug McLendon said. “That’s what soccer is is fixing the problems so you can be successful.”

Douglas McLendon’s four goals brought his tournament total to seven goals in three games. Jayden Barnes, Andrew Bentley and Josh Taylor all added two goals apiece against Eufaula, while Lloyd Shillabeer scored one goal.

While scoring came easily for the Troy team, it was the passing that impressed its coach.

“The kids played very unselfishly,” McLendon said. “On some of the goals, the assists were more beautiful than the goals were. The passes were just so well-placed.”

With such an impressive win, there were many things that could be said, but perhaps it was Douglas McLendon who summed it up best.

“It feels good to be three-peat state champions,” Douglas McLendon said.