Boys soccer hungry for sixth state title after consecutive state final appearances


Senior Cole Hutchinson sets up to take a corner for Bearden during the 2022 season.

The Bearden boys soccer team has finished runner-up the past two years at state, and they are determined to end this season by winning that final match and claiming the school’s sixth state title.

The team losing 14 seniors last year significantly impacted the team, but Coach Ryan Radcliffe is impressed with how quickly this year’s team has connected and learned how to communicate.

“They have come together quicker than in the past,” Coach Radcliffe said. “We lost a lot of senior leadership in past years, leaving new individuals to fill these voids.

“Talent is comparable to championship teams I’ve had but we have to be able to come together as a group in order to reach our goals.”

The players have stated repeatedly that they are hungry for the state championship. The seniors this year are all feeling especially ambitious because it is their last year on the high school team to make a difference.

“Losing in the state final two years in a row has made me and my team train harder than ever,” senior fullback Cole Hutchinson said. “I’ve realized this is my last chance, and we have to capitalize.”

Bearden fell to Houston 2-1 in the final in 2021 and lost to Brentwood 4-1 a year ago. The Bulldogs’ most recent state championship team was 2019.

Bearden is now 5-4 in state finals, and the Bulldogs have appeared in 15 of the past 23 state tournaments.

“The motivation has been easy because we have been runner-up twice in a row so that’s a lot of motivation in itself,” Coach Radcliffe said. “A big talking point is if we wanna change the result then we have got to do things a bit differently.”

Added senior forward Harrison Schwall: “This year, we are looking to work on getting better as a whole team. We have great talent and some key players, but we’re looking to develop a disciplined team where we all work for each other.”

The players are focused on teamwork and working as one unit this season.

“Honestly I just want to win the state championship,” Hutchinson said. “I do not care about my individual preference as long as I get a ring at the end of the season.”