For the first time this season, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team had to survive a one-goal victory.
But the Catamounts press on believing the Johnson-Gainesville Knights’ challenge will make them stronger.
Dalton won 2-1 Wednesday night at Harmon Field in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament and reached the quarterfinals for the third consecutive year. Joining the Cats in the quarters are Northwest Whitfield, a 4-1 winner at Chestatee, and Southeast Whitfield, which rolled 6-1 at Carrollton.
Dalton (19-0), the Region 7-4A champion, entered with a sizable goal differential for the season, 110-7, and the No. 1 ranking in eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 4A and all-classifications polls for Georgia, as well as a No. 1 national ranking by maxpreps.com.
But Johnson (15-3-2), Region 8’s No. 2 seed and the fourth-ranked team in Class 4A, provided a much tougher obstacle than Dalton’s first-round opponent, Stone Mountain. The Cats won that game 10-0 and because of the mercy rule, it didn’t even go the full 80 minutes of regulation.
“This is going to help us,” Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said. “We had to fight to the end. At least a third of our games have ended (by mercy rule) this season. Some of the others we played comfortably to the end. ... This time of the year, the boys need to have the heart and fight to stick it out and win it.”
Trailing 2-0, the Knights scored their lone goal in the 58th minute when Dalton goalkeeper Raymundo Bahena lost his balance trying to deflect Jonathan Mendoza’s shot. Bahena got a hand on the ball but was unable to deflect it to the side or over the goal.
“I thought we played a heck of a game,” Knights coach Brian Shirley said. “We had some great opportunities on corners and I thought we should’ve scored at least one or two on corners. ... They just made one or two more plays than we did.”
Needing a goal to tie, Johnson only had one good chance the rest of the game. A free kick from around 25 yards away was headed twice before Bahena deflected it into the crossbar and the ball was sent out for a corner kick, which resulted in nothing substantial. It was the last of Johnson’s eight shots, and Dalton spent much of the final 15 minutes on Johnson’s side of the field.
The Cats had numerous chances to score their third goal. Johnson goalkeeper Jose Martinez bobbled a cross in the 72rd minute, Ramiro Huitanda’s shot deflected off Martinez and Alan Pantaleon’s shot went too high. In the 76th minute, a deep throw-in from Eder Mora found Pantaleon at the far post, but his header was saved at the goal line by Martinez. In the 78th minute, Huitanda’s off-balance shot from the left side was barely wide right.
“We had a couple chances to score at the end,” Bahena said. “I was hoping they’d be able to score a goal to make it 3-1 and not worry as much, but it wasn’t near me for most of that time.”
The Cats blew chances in the first half, too.
In the 21st minute, Dalton players celebrated after a deep throw-in found its way to the net. The referee ruled no one touched the ball, making the goal illegal, but the Cats argued the goalkeeper or a Johnson defender tipped it.
“It looked like it was tipped by three people to me,” Cheaves said.
One minute later, Javier Rodriguez made sure there wasn’t any doubt when he headed in a corner kick from point-blank range.
In the 33rd minute, a handball in the penalty area granted Dalton a beautiful chance for its second goal. Despite Martinez guessing and diving the wrong way, Ramiro Huitanda’s finesse shot rolled just outside the left post.
Three minutes later, Ryan Czyz made up for the blown opportunity. Jose Plaza had a three-on-one attack and slid the ball across to Czyz, who had little trouble finishing one of Dalton’s 18 shots for a 2-0 halftime cushion.
The Cats will play their quarterfinals match Saturday at Harmon Field against either Veterans or Jonesboro.
n Northwest 4, Chestatee 1: The Bruins (15-5) reached the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season with a performance coach Ryan Scoggins called “much better” than their first-round penalty-kick win against Grady.
David Perez’s 22nd goal of the year came eight minutes into the game and broke Giovanni Aguero’s single-season record of 21, set last year. Damien Lara scored in the 22nd minute to give Northwest a 2-0 halftime lead.
Chestatee (17-3), the Region 8 champion and third-ranked team in Class 4A, scored a penalty kick in the 60th minute to cut Northwest’s lead in half, but Aguero and Bryan Villa converted shots outside the penalty area in the 65th and 70th minutes, respectively. Perez had an assist, Christian Perez and Cielo Nunez each had one assist.
“Our passing was much crisper,” Scoggins said when comparing this performance to the first round. “We didn’t give the ball away nearly as much as we did against Grady. ... We did have some late chances to finish that I’d like to have back.”
The Bruins, the Region 7 runners-up and fifth-ranked Class 4A squad, will play Mary Persons in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment but coming into the state tournament, our goal isn’t to get back to where we were,” Scoggins said. “Our goal is to get into new territory and push forward to new ground.”
Northwest had 21 shots on goal to Chestatee’s 12, while Bruins goalkeeper Miguel Deanda made six saves.
n Southeast 6, Carrollton 1: Facing the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A and playing without their coach, the Raiders (11-4-1) rose to the occasion and reached the quarterfinals for the fourth straight season.
Victor Garcia had three assists and a goal, Erik Salaises scored a hat trick and Alex Rosillo scored once and assisted once to lead Southeast, which scored four times off deep throw-ins.
Garcia’s throw assisted Salaises in the second minute and again in the 35th. Garcia scored on a 12th-minute throw-in, while Salaises scored in the 30th minute from more than 20 yards away after an assist from Rosillo. Garcia’s long pass to Rosillo in the 50th minute ended in a goal, and Luis Sanchez came off the bench to head in a 76th-minute throw-in.
“We did great. We knew what we had to do,” said assistant Victor Rodriguez, who assumed most of the managerial duties in head coach Kevin Kettenring’s absence.
Kettenring could not attend the game due to a prior commitment, Southeast athletics director Mark Lentych said on Tuesday. The Raiders, Region 7’s No. 3 seed, entered the game ranked seventh in Class 4A.
“It came down to hard work,” Rodriguez added. “In the first half we did. We’d get the ball, lose it and get it right back. All their goals came from errors.
“We did have a couple good passes and combinations. We controlled the first half. The second half we played a little more keepaway to frustrate them.”
Region 5 champion Carrollton (13-4-1) scored its only goal on a penalty kick in the sixth minute. Southeast goalkeeper Abel Mendiola had seven saves.
The Raiders will play either Dutchtown or Howard in the next round. Southeast would host a game against Howard, but the Raiders would play at Dutchtown.
Cats, Bruins, Raiders all moving on
For the first time this season, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team had to survive a one-goal victory.
- Dalton High School Catamounts
Whatever it takes
Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team has been successful this season. But at the same time, no one said success would be easy.
Several times this year, the Bruins have fallen behind early in the first few innings before answering with a rally to ensure the wins keep coming. On Friday, that formula delivered a Sub-region 7B-4A championship for the second year in a row.
Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats
Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.
Prep Roundup: Bruins power past Cats for key victory at home
TUNNEL HILL — Similar to Wednesday’s Sub-region 7B-4A baseball series opener at Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield fell behind early Thursday versus the Catamounts.
Prep Baseball: Looking for a leader
Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey only needed one word to sum up what he expects from this week’s three-game series with Sub-region 7B-4A foe and intracounty rival Northwest Whitfield.
“Intensity,” he said. “If you can’t get up for this series, then why are you playing?”
Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry
Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.
All-Area Wrestling Team and Wrestler of the Year: Winning another title was the only goal for Wheeler
When Dalton High School wrestler Sidney Wheeler won a state title for the first time two years ago as a sophomore, he admitted he became a little complacent about what it would take to replicate the feat — perhaps not noticeably so to most observers, but enough to take success for granted. Wheeler believed it a matter of course that he would win state again, and he thought the second title would simply be the middle child in a high school three-peat.
Prep Roundup: Behr finds his stroke in Vidalia
Dalton High School golfer Allen Behr shot a 3-under-par 69 during the second day of the Indian Invitational in Vidalia to lead the Catamounts to a top-10 finish in the event Saturday.
Out of control victory
Dalton and LaFayette high schools are on spring break this week, and on Monday their baseball teams’ pitching took a vacation when it came to throwing strikes.
The teams combined for 14 walks and four hit batters in a Sub-region 7B-4A game at Dalton, although most of the damage belonged to the host Catamounts, who won 5-4 despite their control problems.
Prep Baseball: Sane taking his drive to Chattanooga State
Grant Sane isn’t a player who is concerned with his stats or his individual accomplishments. He is more interested in doing whatever he can do for his Dalton High School baseball team to be successful.
Sharp enough to win
Dalton High School freshman pitcher Sam Stepp found himself in a jam a lot during Wednesday’s home game against Ridgeland.
He always found a way out.
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