May 15, 2013

Pack the stadiums tonight

The Daily Citizen

— If you support Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield High School or Southeast Whitfield High School, here is the challenge.

Can you make tonight, a rather pedestrian Wednesday in the middle of May, the best sports night of the year?

Three high school boys soccer teams from Whitfield County will play in two separate Georgia High School Association state tournament semifinal matches a mere nine miles apart tonight. Dalton welcomes Spalding High School to Harmon Field for a 6:30 p.m. start, and Northwest Whitfield hosts Southeast Whitfield at Bruin Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

In short, Whitfield County has a 75 percent monopoly on the Class 4A semifinals.

The stakes are high. The winners of these two Class 4A semifinals contests will play one another Friday for the state championship. The rivalries are obvious. Northwest versus Southeast speaks for itself, and both would love to beat the Catamounts. The actual quality of play is tops. Dalton is 20-0, while Northwest and Southeast are perfect this season against Georgia schools not named Dalton, Northwest or Southeast.

So the atmospheres should reflect this.

Football is the unchallenged king of the South, and Whitfield County’s rise to soccer dominance will not change that fact. However, our area’s football scene cannot duplicate what we have here. And the same goes for basketball, baseball or any other team sport. While we may see one or two local teams make a deep run, we won’t see this type of dominance by one county.

Any team reaching the semifinals is a noteworthy accomplishment. Three teams in the same sport reaching them in the same year is memorable.

So to the Dalton fans, make this ordinary spring Wednesday at Harmon Field feel like a Friday night in the fall. To Northwest and Southeast supporters, make the scene in Tunnel Hill a carbon copy of the biggest football game.

For one night, make soccer king of Whitfield County.

Because in Georgia, Whitfield County is king of soccer.