Undefeated ends debate, quiets complainers, closes cases. Undefeated turns off the lights, puts the chairs up on the table and tells everyone to go home.
Nothing and no one can top undefeated. Throw any word in sports up against it, and undefeated goes undefeated.
The sweetest season in sports, any sport, is the unbeaten one. Every player, every coach, every team strives to have that magic word – undefeated – attached to their name.
That is what Tamp Prep accomplished in Thursday’s 3A state final at DeLand’s Spec Martin Stadium.
The Terrapins were after more than a championship trophy.
They were trying to cement their legacy by capping one of the greatest seasons in high school soccer history.
Entering the 3A final, Tampa Prep was unbeaten and untied.
A perfect 20-0.
There are a number of things that can cause teams to stumble. Injuries. Illness. Ineffectiveness. Sometimes, it can be as simple as playing a better opponent.
Thursday’s final was a marquee event. The Terrapins’ opponent, Miami Ransom Everglades, entered the final ranked No. 3 nationally.
Tampa Prep never succumbed to the pressure of perfection. The Terrapins scored goals in each half to win 2-0.
Top billing in the nation. An unblemished record.
It all remained intact.
In the playoffs, Tampa Prep was dominant, outscoring foes by a combined 14-0 in the three matches prior to the 3A final.
The Terrapins took control – and the lead – in the first half of the title match when Santiago Castaneda scored what turned to be the winning goal.
In the second half, Tampa Prep added to its lead with a goal from Asher Jones. That was more than enough for keeper JB Montague, who made six saves and recorded the shutout.
The title was the Terrapins’ seventh overall and their first since winning consecutive championships in 2012-13.
This one was different.
This one ended in perfection.