From Staff Reports
David Perez broke Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer program’s single-season scoring record Wednesday.
But he decided to keep scoring, and the Bruins decided to keep winning.
Northwest beat Mary Persons 5-1 Friday in Forsyth to advance to the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament.
The Bruins (16-5), Region 7-4A’s No. 2 seed, are ranked fifth in eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 4A poll, while the Region 2-4A champion Bulldogs (16-3) were ranked eighth.
Perez needed only seven minutes to put Northwest in front. In the 25th minute, Bryan Villa made it 2-0 with a top corner shot, and Cielo Nunez’s penalty kick in the 28th minute made it 3-0.
Perez scored his second goal of the game in the 36th minute — Northwest took the 4-0 lead to halftime — and curved in a 43rd-minute corner kick for a hat trick and his 25th goal of the season.
“The goalkeeper misplayed it,” Bruins coach Ryan Scoggins said. “He caught it, lost his balance and fell right back into the goal with the ball.”
With 20 minutes to play, Northwest had substitutes at every position and Mary Persons scored its lone goal in the 65th minute.
Bruins goalkeeper Miguel Deanda had a quiet day, making four saves, and the Bruins took 22 shots to the Bulldogs’ nine.
Northwest’s Giovanni Aguero, the previous single-season scoring record holder, had two assists.
“He played great and had a few good shots but wasn’t fortunate enough to get one in,” Scoggins said.
In the first round, Northwest had to go to penalty kicks to outlast Grady. The Bruins then beat Chestatee 4-1 in Wednesday’s second round and now have scored nine goals in the past two games, both against region champs.
“We’re playing really well right now,” Scoggins said. “I feel confident in how we’re passing and communicating. I don’t know if it was Grady that woke us up but we’ve definitely stepped it up on the score differential in rounds two and three. I hope the scoring happens at home as well.”
This is the first time Northwest has reached the semifinals in program history. Last year’s quarterfinals run started with the team’s first state tournament win.
Scoggins previously said reaching the semifinals was the minimum goal for the team.
Now that it’s accomplished, he doesn’t believe his squad has any reason to stop shy of the maximum.
“I’m just going to tell them, ‘The sky is the limit. Dream big. You’re at the threshold,’” Scoggins said. “I feel like they really believe in what we’re doing.”
Northwest will host Wednesday’s semifinal against the winner of today’s quarterfinal match between Southeast Whitfield and host Dutchtown. The Bruins and Southeast have split their two games this season.
“I’m cheering for Southeast,” Scoggins said. “I’m hoping they go down to Dutchtown and win.”