Sports Columns

April 27, 2014

Devin Golden: Path for 4A soccer teams a similar one

As last year’s high school soccer state playoffs progressed, local-versus-local matches were a near certainty.

We could see Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield replicate that magic in 2014.

All three teams play Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. The earliest the teams could meet are the semifinals, while a meeting in the championship is possible.

Dalton hosts Sandy Creek at 6 p.m. at Harmon Field, Southeast hosts Columbus at Raider Stadium at 6 p.m. and Northwest travels to Carrollton for a 7 p.m. start.

The Class 3A and 2A matches are Thursday. Coahulla Creek hosts Buford at 5:30 p.m., North Murray hosts North Hall at a time to be determined, Murray County hosts Chattahoochee County at 5:30 p.m. and Morris Innovative travels to Bremen for a 6 p.m. start.

Northwest’s girls team plays Columbus Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Columbus State University.

As for the kickoff to the state postseason, the three boys teams from Class 4A have similar dreams to a season ago. All three made the semifinals. Dalton beat Southeast in the championship.

Another Northwest-Southeast match in the semifinals is possible, as is a state title match between nearby rivals if the Region 7 champion Dalton, the top-ranked Class 4A team on, keeps its unbeaten streak (currently at 40 matches) going. None of the runs happen without winning on Tuesday.

“We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Northwest coach Ryan Scoggins said.

No kidding.

The Bruins (7-7-3) finished third in Region 7. Aside from finishing second in Region 5, Carrollton also is the last team to beat Dalton. In the Class 3A quarterfinals two seasons ago, Dalton lost in Carrollton.

“I know that Carrollton is historically a very strong program,” Scoggins said. “They’ve had a few injuries this season. ... They’re very good at set pieces, something they’ve always leaned on, and playing teams like Dalton and Southeast hopefully prepares you for defending set pieces.”

If Northwest survives, it has a likely date with Johnson-Gainesville, a one-loss squad ranked second in the state. Johnson-Gainesville hosts Marist in round one.

“All four of those teams are good,” Scoggins said. “Marist and Carrollton have been historically good. We’ve had a couple good runs the last two years and Johnson-Gainesville has been ranked No. 2 all year.

“Whoever comes out of this grouping is  good pick to reach the semifinals.”

Dalton’s (17-0-1) opponent, Sandy Creek, beat Alexander at the end of the regular season to finish fourth in Region 5.

“It helps to know stuff about your opponent, but you also need to focus on the stuff you’re doing,” Catamounts coach Matt Cheaves said. “All of these teams from this Region 5, and even some of the ones that didn’t make it, are solid teams. Alexander, who didn’t make it, may have been in the playoffs in a different region.”

Southeast (11-5-2) finished runner-up to Dalton in the region and hosts Region 5’s No. 3 seed. If Southeast can beat Columbus, the Raiders could have a road matchup with Region 6 champ Chamblee, a team the Raiders beat in last year’s first round.

“We know Columbus’ region is traditionally strong,” Southeast coach Kevin Kettenring said. “Columbus has a strong midfield and good, fast players up top.”

Northwest’s Lady Bruins finished fourth in Region 7 and match up with the Region 5 champs from Columbus. Northwest lost in the first round of last year’s state tournament.

• Today could be the end of the local high school tennis season — or it could be the continuation of something special.

Murray County’s girls team visits Westminster at 1 p.m. in a second round match in the Class 2A bracket. Coahulla Creek’s boys team, the Region 5-3A champs, hosts St. Pius X at 1 p.m. in another second round match.

Coahulla Creek’s girls, Dalton’s boys and girls both reached the second round in Class 4A and Northwest’s boys all reached state but were eliminated last week

This season has been a successful one for local tennis teams, but the remaining squads from Coahulla Creek and Murray County can reach another level by advancing to the quarterfinals.

Devin Golden is a sports writer at The Daily Citizen. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev.

Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Harman is living his childhood golf dream

    HOYLAKE, England — One thing about golf that has remained constant since Young Tom Morris won his fourth Open in a row in 1872 — when Ulysses Grant was president of the United States and Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy (he had 25 wives) — is that a little man can play the game.
    Football players are becoming bigger — often illegally — and basketball players are growing taller, but a golfer can excel at any dimension if he hones his skills enough to get the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes. Golf is not a behemoth sport; there are no concussions, no strikeouts and no fistfights. Let the game prosper.

    July 18, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Brits know how to hold classy affairs

    HOYLAKE, England — Summertime is a royal time for the British, who have more sporting options in a six-week period than some societies have in a lifetime.
    If you think the U.S. is keen on sport — with the NBA finals lasting into June and baseball and golf dominating the scene — consider what takes place in the land of our forebears. Wimbledon gets underway the last week in June for a fortnight of resonating excitement. Wimbledon is like Augusta National or Churchill Downs — a memorable experience regardless of who walks away with first prize.

    July 15, 2014

  • A Look Ahead: State golf coming to Nob North

    My history as a golfer can be summed up with some well-known words from 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes — “nasty, brutish and short.”

    July 14, 2014