Around 10 months ago the Class 4A boys soccer state championship, Southeast Whitfield had a mission — hand the No. 1-ranked Dalton side its first loss of the year.
The Raiders didn’t succeed, as Dalton scored in the first five minutes and won 5-0 to claim its second state title.
Dalton didn’t lose in 22 matches last year — and hasn’t lost in three matches this season — so Southeast once again has the opportunity to put a dent in its rival’s dominance. The Raiders and Catamounts play Friday night at Harmon Field in a match between teams that are undefeated now and — barring upset losses Tuesday — will sport unblemished records and clear powerhouses once again.
The girls match starts at 5:30 p.m. and the boys will follow in the next chapter of an already-deep rivalry.
The teams played four times last year — the Catamounts won all four by at least two goals on their path to a Region 7-4A championship — and twice the year before, with the Raiders earning a season sweep and the Region 7-3A title.
This is just the first match in possible four more this season, but it’s the best soccer rivalry in northwest Georgia and maybe the best one in the state. I’m not the only one who thinks these two sides are top of the class, either.
Dalton (3-0) is ranked first in the classification, according to Eurosportscoreboard.com’s coaches poll. Southeast (3-0) is ranked second and coming off a 4-1 win last Friday against fourth-ranked Northwest Whitfield (1-1).
In short, Friday should be fun.
• Also Friday is an intriguing soccer matchup on the north side of Whitfield County.
Coahulla Creek will travel to Tunnel Hill to face Northwest. The girls start at 5 p.m. while the boys start right after. The Colts aren’t ranked yet in Class 3A’s coaches poll on Eurosportscoreboard.com, but they should be. Coahulla Creek is undefeated this season and appears as strong as any side in Region 5-3A to take the league title.
The season is still young for the Bruins, who want to move on from Friday’s loss to Southeast and can do so with a quality win against a quality side like Coahulla Creek.
• Maybe Coahulla Creek’s baseball team can ride with the soccer team, because the Colts will play at 5:30 p.m. Friday up the hill against the Bruins in a rematch from last Friday’s game.
That’s one of many local-versus-local games on the baseball diamond this week. Dalton travels to North Murray at 5:30 p.m. today and then hosts the Mountaineers in a rematch at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Dalton hosts Coahulla Creek at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The baseball schedules haven’t reached region play yet, but the non-region section allows for more local teams to play one another.
• Dalton State College’s cheerleading program will host a series of three cheerleading clinics this spring.
All three clinics will be at the Bandy Gymnasium on the school campus from noon to 5 p.m. The Dalton State cheer stunt clinic will be March 29. Participants must be at least 14 years old.
The second clinic is a college prep cheer clinic on April 5. Participants must be 12 years old.
The final clinic is a youth cheer event April 19. Participants must be at least 5 years old.
All those interested can find more information by visiting the Dalton State cheerleading Facebook page, titled “Dalton State Cheerleading,” or the Dalton State athletics website at www.dsroadrunners.com or by calling (706) 529-7623.
• Dalton State also will host the Little Roadrunner Volleyball League for interested youth volleyball players.
The league is for boys and girls ages 6-14 and will take place this month at ChristChurch Presbyterian in Dalton. Players will be coached by by Dalton State players from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $80 per player and participants receive a T-shirt.
To learn more, email Roadrunners coach Bruna Langner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Daily Citizen’s “After Deadline” podcast returns to its usual two-man team this week as Chris Whitfield and I talk about the end of the high school basketball season, the starts of the high school baseball and soccer seasons and the recent episodes of “The Walking Dead.”
Last week, I interviewed Dalton High School’s Sidney Wheeler fresh off his Class 4A state championship victory in the 182-pound weight class.
The podcast appears each Wednesday afternoon on our website, www.daltonnow.com. Last week’s episode, and all past shows, are available on the website.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen and is the best NCAA college basketball tournament bracketmaster around. You can write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev.