Luke Tedder

After finishing first in the regular season, the Independence Eagles (6-3-2) added a District 12-AAA tournament championship to their resume, defeating the Columbia Central Lions (11-7-1) at Summit High School 2-0 on Thursday night.

“For having a young team and losing 13 seniors last year, it was a big task for them,” said Independence head coach Eric Bossman. “We just tried to figure out how to play better as a team. As the year progressed, we got better and better. I am proud of the kids. They worked pretty hard.”

“It means a lot,” said Independence senior goalie Andrew Barton. “Coming from last year, our results were not where we wanted them to be. It means a lot to all these seniors who were on the junior varsity team last year to come out and accomplish what we set out to do at the beginning of the season.”

“It is huge for this program,” said Independence senior Luke Tedder. “With it being a lot of younger guys on this team, having the drive to not blame it on your age and go out and win tackles is really crucial to this team. We have not won the district tournament and regular season in several years. It really sets the scene for regionals.”

In the fifth minute, Independence got on the board first as Luke Tedder burst his way through the defense and past the goalie, blasting his shot at the net to grab the lead 1-0.

Columbia Central junior goalie Dane Holley and Independence senior goalie Andrew Barton swatted away each side's attempts at goals as the score stayed at 1-0 at the break.

Independence’s Luke Tedder cashed in another scoring opportunity, depositing it in the back of the net for his second goal of the match to stretch the Eagles advantage to 2-0.

“After the game on Tuesday, we had a conversation because he had four or five really good chances (at goals),” said Bossman. “We said, look, you have to hit the target. As a nine, you have to put it on the frame and let the keeper save it. Tonight he put it on frame and fortunately got it past the keeper.”

Columbia Central fought back with chances of their own, but Independence’s Andrew Barton would not be denied a clean sheet as the Eagles captured the District 12-AAA crown 2-0.

“A lot of it starts with the 10 guys in front of him,” said Bossman. “They have to be able to defend and keep a really good Columbia Central team from putting us under. Andrew came out big on three or four balls; especially in the box coming off his line, punching balls out, and taking balls out of the air. He was outstanding tonight.”

“A big part of it was really the center backs and our midfield,” said Barton. “We were stepping into balls and players when we needed to, locking down the shots, and giving them little-to-no space.”

“Impressive, that is why he is the goalkeeper of the year for this district,” said Tedder “ He is able to lock down the goal in the back,”

Columbia Central will travel to Franklin Tuesday for the first game of regionals.

Independence will host Brentwood in the first game of the region tournament Tuesday night.

“We are going to have to have an effort like tonight and be prepared, because it is a really strong Brentwood team,” said Bossman. “We played them early in the season and tied 2-2. It is going to be a heck of a game.”