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Champs Fall Just Short of Making Program History At Harpeth

Noah Maddox
Posted 5/20/24

The Cascade Champions faltered just one game short of the program's first-ever state tournament berth at Harpeth, losing 2-1 on Saturday.

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Champs Fall Just Short of Making Program History At Harpeth


The Cascade Champions came into Saturday’s Class A Sectional round just one win away from making the boy’s soccer program’s first ever state tournament. Instead, they were unable to break down a feisty Harpeth team over the course of 80 minutes, losing 2-1 on a muddy and muggy Saturday afternoon.

Kickoff was at 1:02 p.m., and it was the visiting Champions who looked the more likely to score early on after winning a corner in the seventh minute. Cascade’s high pressure was causing problems for Harpeth, as the hosts continuously failed to find the long switch to speedy winger, Isaac Mattox, and their main forward, Jasper Tharpe, seeming to rattle the composure of the hosts despite them having qualified for the state tournament the last two seasons.

In the ninth minute, Harpeth found a way through the Champs’ backline on a breakaway, but Nick Harris made an incredible one-on-one save to keep the game scoreless. 

Two minutes later, Cascade’s star senior and midfield maestro, Ivan Draine, almost found the opener on a breakaway of his own, but he dragged his attempt just wide of the post. 

In the 15th minute, fellow senior Isaac Chapa volleyed a bouncing ball outside of the box off of a Draine long throw that went just wide of Harpeth’s other post. 

Isaac Chapa (23) saw his career in a Cascade uniform come to a close at Harpeth.
Isaac Chapa (23) saw his career in a Cascade uniform come to a close at Harpeth.

However, seven minutes later, the hosts would find the breakthrough. Despite an extended spell of possession and pressure from Cascade, Harpeth found a crack in the Champions’ backline. Tharpe was able to barely beat Hayden Dowell to a ball in behind, putting him one-on-one with Harris. Harris was able to make an initial save, but Tharpe was quicker to the rebound and poked it home to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute. 

The goal seemed to shock the visitors and inspire the hosts, and six minutes later Harpeth nearly doubled their lead. A long switch to Mattox led to a layoff for Tharpe in the box who put the ball just over the crossbar. 

Cascade had another long throw opportunity in the 38th minute, but were unable to put the header on target before the halftime whistle blew.

To start the second half, Ivan Draine seemed to find a second wind. His shot was deflected wide for a corner, and Cascade kept the pressure on Harpeth despite failing to score off the set piece. 

Instead, in the 48th minute, Tharpe found himself in behind the Cascade defense yet again off another quick counter-attack. Jacob Montgomery lofted a ball over the top, catching the Champs’ defense out of position high up the field, and Tharpe was able to fool Harris and double Harpeth’s lead with 30 minutes to go.

This second goal seemed to wake up Cascade’s attack again, but after Draine’s shot hit off the post in the 51st minute, it felt like the hill might be too big to climb. 

Ivan Draine (2) hit the post while Isaac Mattox (88) caused problems on the wing.
Ivan Draine (2) hit the post while Isaac Mattox (88) caused problems on the wing.

It took 15 more minutes, but the visitors did eventually get a goal back thanks to their high pressure. A deflection finally went the Champs’ way, putting freshman Ramon Rodriguez in on goal. Rodriguez was able to get the ball out of his feet and into the net to cut the Harpeth lead in half, 2-1, in the 66th minute. 

There was still plenty of time for Cascade to find an equalizer, and it felt like they were on the verge of doing just that in the five minutes following their goal. In the 71st minute, Draine finally was able to find space to get a shot off that was saved out for a corner. 

However, Harpeth was able to clear the ball out, and the fatigue began to set in for Cascade soon after. They would not record another shot-on-goal, and after the final whistle blew, the multiple seniors on the field collapsed to the ground in complete dejection and disbelief. 

Harpeth just barely was able to hold on in the end, but they were the more clinical team with their chances while Cascade fluffed more than one opportunity on goal, allowing the hosts to move on to the state tournament for the third consecutive year.

Cascade finishes the year at 9-5-1 (4-1-1).

Cascade Champions, Harpeth, Class A Sectional, Substate