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Unbeaten CHS competes in TAPPS state soccer tourney

By Jack Stallard
Nov. 11, 2010 at 6:14 p.m.

Christian Heritage School will take a spotless record into this week's TAPPS State Soccer Tournament, but don't let the record fool you.

The Sentinels have been tested, mostly by high expectations after reaching the final four a year ago and the fact CHS fielded a young team this season.

CHS (12-0) battles Sherman Texoma Christian (12-0-2) at noon today at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. The winner advances to Saturday's state title game against Arlington Burton Academy or Fort Worth Bethesda Christian.

Christian Heritage, a 2009 state semifinalist, went 10-0 in the regular season, allowing six goals while scoring 57. The Sentinels opened the playoffs with a 5-0 home shutout of DeSoto Canterbury, then knocked off British School of Houston a week ago, 2-1, to punch its ticket to the state tournament.

The Sentinels reached the state tournament a year ago, falling in the state semifinals to Brownsville Living Way.

"We have grown a lot as a team this year," head coach Stan Upchurch said. "We lost five starters from last year's state semifinal team, and the new, younger and returning players have really stepped up this year and have worked hard to improve and come together as a team. It has been exciting to watch how the team has jelled and how significant contributions have come from all the different grade levels.''

The Sentinels have pitched six shutouts this season. Senior goalie Blake Godsey has 81 saves.

"Blake is an outstanding team leader and one of the finest keepers I have ever seen," Upchurch said. "He makes hard saves look easy and is very difficult to beat. He did not allow any 'soft' goals this year."

Senior forward David Nelson leads the team with 32 goals and is second with six assists. Sophomore midfielder/forward Brad Upchurch is second with 12 goals and leads the team with 19 assists. Junior sweeper Daniel Jones has two goals and one assist; sophomore forward/midfielder Bradley Jones has eight goals and three assists; and freshman midfielder Spencer Smith has three goals and six assists.

Rounding out the roster are senior defender Logan Shaw, sophomore defender Alex Parker, freshman midfielder Ashton Jones, junior midfielder Zach McKinley, freshman defender Grant Sheffield, senior midfielder Daniel Warke, senior defender Patrick Mahaffey, freshman midfielder Daniel Farrell, freshman midfielder Caleb Krug, freshman forward Caleb Curfman, freshman defender Daniel McKinley and freshman forward Tanner Thompson.

Upchurch was especially proud of the way his team played in the win against the British School of Houston. The 2-1 victory marked the team's first true test since a 3-1 win in the third game of the season.

Against the British School, the Sentinels scored in the 22nd minute when Brad Upchurch headed in a corner kick from Smith. Houston tied the game 27 minutes later, but Upchurch hit a free kick from 48 yards out that bounced off a defender in front of the goal, where Nelson was stationed to beat the keeper for a four-yard winner.

"The British School had more individual skill, but we played with heart and attacked and defended as a team,'' the coach said. "Our persistence and pressure prevailed."

Texoma Christian reached the state tournament with wins against Longview Christian School (10-1) and Conroe Covenant Christian (3-0).



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