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Boys soccer: Early scoring binge boosts Brighton to 3-0 win over Roy, into 5A semis

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — It didn’t take long Friday afternoon, in the shadow of Butler Middle School and the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, for the Brighton Bengals to show exactly why they are the top-ranked boys soccer team in the 5A classification.

It didn’t take long Friday afternoon, in the 5A quarterfinal matchup between the top-seeded Bengals and the No. 2 seeded Roy Royals, for Brighton to show off its devastating attack, an attack that led the Bengals to a 10-1-5 record and a Region 7 title during the regular season.

It didn’t take long Friday afternoon for the Bengals to clinch a berth in the semifinals and establish, yet again, that they are the team to beat for the 5A state championship.

As it turns out, nothing takes long with the Bengals.

Brighton netted two goals in the opening 12 minutes of the game Friday, one by senior Traedon Chamberlain, the other by senior Jake Babcock, and went on to earn a 3-0 victory over Roy.

Sophomore Chandler Turpin added a late second-half goal, and goalkeeper Harrison Nuttall was an integral part of the team’s sixth shutout, but the story of the game was the opening salvo.

“That is just how we want to start,” Brighton head coach Brett Rosen said. “When we play our game we are successful. As long as we don’t get caught up in what other people want to do, when we dictate, we are unstoppable.

“When we dictate, team’s start to get on their heels and then we attack, we attack and we attack. We are relentless. That is how we play.”

“That is Brighton soccer” added Chamberlain. “That is when we are at our best. When we come out with the mindset that we are going to play Brighton soccer it doesn’t matter where we play or who we play. If we play Brighton soccer there isn’t a team in the state that can compete with us.”

It certainly looked that way early on against the Royals. Within the game’s opening minute, Brighton scored, or rather appeared to.

The goal, a header by Alex Fankhauser, courtesy of a cross by David Brog, was called back due to an offsides infraction.

The empty possession was merely the beginning, however.

Two minutes later the Bengals earned a corner kick, a kick which was subsequently delivered into the box by Fankhauser. Chamberlain was on the receiving end, and his header flew past Royals keeper Ryley Allred and into the back of the net.

“Alex just played the perfect ball,” Chamberlain said. “It was just, right place, right time, and before I knew it I was celebrating.”

Babcock netted his score in the 12th minute, after missing wide left on a previous attempt and watching Brennan Neeley go wide right on another.

The score, one of 10 first-half shots by the Bengals, gave the hosts a 2-0 lead, an advantage they would take into halftime.

Before the break and for a significant portion afterward, the Royals made a game of it. Roy had multiple scoring chances in the first half, including a sequence in the 37th minute where at least three players had point-blank shots on goal.

Each attempt was turned away, however, either by Nuttall or one of his stout backline.

The same held true in the second half, as Payten Craven, Cody Moore, Gunner Erickson, Braulio Razo and others had shot attempts nullified.

“Our defense has been solid all year and those guys are a great group,” said Rosen. “As long as they stayed connected, teams have a tough time breaking them down. We have a lot of skilled players back there with a lot of pride and they wanted the shutout. No matter how hard Roy was going to come at us, those guys were going to play strong.”

Turpin, a junior varsity player this year, netted his goal on a ball that went off Allred’s fingertips, just before stoppage time, giving the Bengals an insurmountable edge.

“He has been excellent for JV and that was a great moment,” said Rosen. “He deserved that.”

There will be more moments for Brighton and Turpin in the 5A semifinals, where they'll face Viewmont on Tuesday, May 22 at Woods Cross High.

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