March 18, 2014

Prep soccer: Morris boys earn Class 2A ranking

From Staff Reports

— It’s nothing new for a local high school boys soccer team to be among those in the state rankings.

It is new for that team to be Morris Innovative.

On the strength of a 1-0 victory over visiting Murray County last week, the Tigers (6-4) are No. 8 in this week’s Class 2A top-10 ranking. Murray County (7-1) is No. 4 in Class 2A.

“It is pretty exciting for the guys,” Morris Innovative coach Ernie Dempsey said. “The players were really excited when I gave them the news (Monday) morning. It is awesome, and our school is giving opportunities to kids who wouldn’t have an opportunity play somewhere else, and they are showing they are top-10 players. It isn’t where we want to be yet — and we are working on that — but it is definitely cool.”

With the Tigers — who began playing varsity soccer two years ago — in the poll for the first time, seven of the eight boys soccer teams in Murray and Whitfield counties are ranked in their respective classifications.

In Class 3A, Coahulla Creek (6-2-1) and North Murray (5-1) are ranked ninth and 10th, respectively. In Class 4A, Dalton (8-0-1) is No. 1, while Southeast Whitfield (7-1-1) is sixth and Northwest Whitfield (4-2-3) is 10th.

Last season was one of unparalleled success for local soccer programs as six boys teams made the Georgia High School Association state playoffs and Dalton, Northwest and Southeast took three of the four spots in the Class 4A quarterfinals, with Dalton beating Southeast for the title.