North Murray High School’s boys soccer team was worried its loss a week ago to Cartersville ruined all hopes of winning a region championship.
The Mountaineers got a second life and didn’t waste it.
North Murray beat Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 3-1 Tuesday at Mountaineer Stadium to secure the Region 5-3A title, the Mountaineers’ second consecutive league title. They’re the first program in school history to claim multiple region titles.
Last season, North Murray won the Region 7-2A crown. This year, the Mountaineers entered a new classification with some new opponents.
“I was kind of nervous coming into the season,” Mountaineers coach Matt Chambers said. “We had a new region and new competition. It was definitely harder than last year, but the boys stepped it up and it was great.”
Freddy Urbina scored on a 16th-minute free kick and North Murray (14-3, 13-1) held a 1-0 lead at halftime. Alexis Solorzano scored in the 50th minute thanks to an assist from Ismael Cruz, who then scored in the 77th minute to cap the goals.
Goalkeeper Manuel Gonzalez made two saves.
The Mountaineers lost 1-0 to Cartersville, putting the two schools tied at the top of the standings for first. Chambers figured it would stay that way and come down to a goal-differential tiebreaker.
“Originally, when we lost to Cartersville, we thought we blew our chance,” Chambers said. “Then when they lost to Ringgold, we had a new spurt of energy.
“No. 1, we had to win each game. No. 2, we couldn’t allow any goals. If we lost, then it would come to goal differential. But they won both games, so I’m very proud.”
North Murray next looks toward the Class 3A state playoffs. The Mountaineers will host in the first round and, if they advance, would host in the second.
• Murray County boys 9, Model 1: The Indians have secured a spot in the Class 2A state playoffs, and they have one final regular-season game against Calhoun today in Chatsworth to determine their exact seeding in the tournament.
Murray County (13-3-1, 13-2 Region 7-2A) can finish anywhere from first to third in the region standings dependent on the outcome of today’s game and other action from Tuesday night, Indians coach Marco Burgueno said.
In the win against Model, the Indians led 5-0 at the half and got a hat trick from Jose Ruiz and a pair of goals from Humberto Alvarez.
Alberto Soto, Richard Santa Cruz, Carlos Raymundo and Domingo Bautista also scored for Murray County. Juan Bautista had a pair of assists, while Fernando Arias, Domingo Bautista, Rodrigo Lucas and Alvarez had assists as well.
• Model girls 4, Murray County 1: Paiton Bradford scored the only goal for the Lady Indians (9-8, 9-6 Region 7-2A), while Nayeli Jacobo earned the assist.
The score was 2-1 at halftime.
• Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe girls 3, North Murray 0: Lady Mountaineers goalie Amber Bandy made 12 saves for North Murray (1-12) in its season finale.