By CHIP CIRILLO
Focus, focus, focus – that was the message for Fairview the past few days.
It seemed to pay off as the Yellow Jackets posted a 3-0 win at Nolensville in a Region 6-AA semifinal on Tuesday night.
Fairview (14-3-1) rebounded from a disappointing loss to Sycamore in the District 12-AA championship flour days earlier.
“Every speech from coaches, from captains, from the mommies and daddies over there on the sidelines was straight about focus,” Fairview coach Shane Smith said. “Friday night, we just kind of went through the motions. Tonight, we committed that we were going to come out here and play as a team and do what it took to do our jobs.”
Brandon Parrish scored twice in the first half and Andrew Gillette finished the scoring in the 46th minute.
Fairview gets a rematch at Sycamore (13-4-3) in the region final on Thursday night.
Parrish’s second goal gave him 36 for the season. The junior also has nine assists.
“Brandon played phenomenal tonight,” Smith said. “He’s the heart of our offensive attack. That first shot, half the guys that would have kicked that ball, it would never have gone in. But Brandon’s shot has the strength on it that it managed to trickle across that end line with the keeper trying to get a hold of it.”
Parrish capitalized on a quick turnover on his first goal in the 21st minute.
“All I could hear was ‘go, go, go,’ so I just kind of turned and started sprinting,” Parrish said. “Saw a couple gaps open, was able to take a touch to my right, so I just kind of hit it and got a lucky deflection. But still was able to go through and go in.”
Parrish’s second goal in the 32nd minute gave the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead.
His ability to create six inches of space to get a shot off and the power behind his shot made him difficult to stop.
“That’s a deadly combination,” said Nolensville coach Eric Shelton, whose team ends the year at 9-5-3. “He’s tough to play against.”
The Yellow Jackets earned their 11th shutout of the season.
“We started with our strongest back line,” Smith said. “We had Ethan (Shelley) back there on the back right, we had Nate (Phillips) back there at the center back along with Cole (King) and Jorby (Kimble). Just the four of them, they’ve been working together for three years.”
Smith played a different formation against Sycamore with Shelley up at center midfielder, but Jose Perez returned from a broken foot and that allowed Shelley to return to the back line.
Shelley did a good job containing Nolensville’s Matthew delaRoca, a quick player.
“Their speed is something else,” Shelton said. “We weren’t able to match it. They were definitely the best team on the field.”