As the top-ranked program in Class 4A, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team knows that it will get every team’s best shot this season.
So far, their answer has been to go for the knockout early and not give anyone even a puncher’s chance.
Three different players each scored a pair of goals — led by Ramiro Huitanda with two goals and two assists — as Dalton led 7-0 at halftime and maintained that edge in a shortened second half to beat Heritage-Catoosa in Sub-region 7B-4A play Tuesday night at Harmon Field.
“I thought the big thing in the first half were the guys were really unselfish,” said Dalton coach Matt Cheaves, whose team is No. 1 in the eurosporscoreboard.com Class 4A coaches poll. “Instead of maybe trying to force something or do something that wasn’t there, they did a good job of making that extra pass, and it paid off.”
Huitanda got the scoring machine cranked up just 1:12 into the game off of a corner kick from Jose Plaza. Huitanda then connected on a cross with Ryan Czyz, who found of the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Huitanda’s second goal came less than eight minutes into the game when a crossing shot went off the hands of Heritage goalie Cutter Thompson. Huitanda was there to clean up on the miss, and Dalton led 3-0.
Things didn’t slow down for the Catamounts (3-0, 1-0) as Czyz scored his second goal off of a Huitanda assist, and Alan Pantaleon got into the scoring mix when Czyz’s shot bounced off the post straight to Pantaleon. Dalton led 5-0 just past the midpoint mark of the first half.
Pantaleon added his second goal off of a throw-in from Eder Mora, and Pantaleon had an assist to set up Luis Becerra with 7:12 left in the half to make it 7-0.
Heritage didn’t have a shot on goal until the second half — which was shortened to 20 minutes by the Georgia High School Association’s mercy rule — and the Cats outshot the Generals 19-2 for the game.
“The heart and attitude of the boys has been great, and there is a focus on really having a good team,” Cheaves said. “Teamwork and cooperation will make this a great team rather than a team with a lot of talented players.”
• Heritage-Catoosa girls 4, Dalton 2: Down 2-1 at the half, the Lady Cats tied the game on Rocio Carrizales’ goal in the fifth minute of the second half, but the third-ranked Lady Generals clamped down defensively and won the game with a pair of second-half goals.
Deana Marquez scored the first goal for Dalton (1-2, 1-1), but Heritage (2-0, 1-0) outshot the Lady Cats 12-6.
Still, Lady Cats coach Tony Carlson was not disappointed in his team’s effort.
“I was pleased with what we were able to do,” Carlson said. “I know Heritage is one of the top teams in the entire state. We still have a very young team, and they can learn from this.”
• Morris Innovative boys 6, Bremen 3: The Tigers (3-1) led 1-0 at the half and the second half turned into a scoring flurry, but Morris Innovative survived the long road trip to Bremen for the non-region victory.
Felipé Barrientos had two goals, while Eduardo Padilla, Elmer Hernandez, Adrian Love and Miguel Villafuerte each scored for the Tigers.
“We’ve got some things to work on, but it is looking a lot better,” Tigers coach Ernie Dempsey said.
• Bremen girls 10, Morris Innovative 0: The Lady Tigers (0-4) lost in the mercy-rule shortened contest, but goalie Itzel Moreno recorded 26 saves.
n Northwest Whitfield girls 10, Ridgeland 0: Juliana Gomez scored four goals and four other players scored for the Lady Bruins (2-0, 1-0 Sub-region 7B-4A).
Nancy Paz and Selena Gomez each had a pair of goals, while Andrea Garcia and Ashlee Huyhn scored a single goal each. Gracie Holmes and Deysi Garcia combined for the shutout in goal.
• Northwest boys 5, Ridgeland 1: David Perez led the way with a hat trick and an assist for Northwest, which improved to 2-0.
The Bruins led 3-1 at halftime, but coach Ryan Scoggins was even more pleased with the second half of his team’s road win to open the Sub-region 7B-4A schedule.
Saying the first half showed signs of being like a season-opening match — weather-related postponements and winter break resulted in a long layoff since a 4-3 win at Coahulla Creek on Feb. 15 — Scoggins made a few “small” halftime adjustments and saw better results in the final 40 minutes.
“I felt like it was a good effort,” Scoggins said.
“Ridgeland has some talented kids. We were just a little better in our second-half effort and making sure those kids were marked and taken care of.”
Geovanni Aguero added a goal and assist for Northwest, while Bryan Villa scored the Bruins’ other goal and Miguel Villa, Christian Perez and Jonathan Marquez each had an assist. Miguel Deanda made three saves in goal for Northwest, which outshot the Panthers 26-5 and had 10 corner kicks to their four.
• Murray County boys 2, Dade County 0: The Indians scored a pair of first-half goals and made them stand to take the Region 7-2A victory on the road.
Jose Ruiz scored in the sixth minute, while Alberto Soto had a goal late in the first half for the Indians (3-0-1, 3-0 Region 7-2A). Senior defender Manny Bautista keyed the defense.
“Overall, we could have had a better game, but coming off the (winter) break, I was pleased,” Murray County coach Marco Burgueno said.
• Dade County girls 1, Murray County 0: The Lady Indians surrendered the decisive goal in the final minutes of the first half after starting center midfielder Baylee Cudd left the game following a head-to-head collision with another player.
Murray County coach Mandy Ledford said it’s believed that Cudd suffered a concussion. The junior didn’t return the rest of the night for the Lady Indians (2-2, 2-1 Region 7-2A), and Ledford isn’t sure how long she’ll be out of action.
Kelsey Pack had six saves in goal for Murray County, which took eight shots in the road loss. Ledford said Cheyenne Sancho “had three heartbreaking misses” of the net.
• North Murray boys 2, Ringgold 0: Freddy Urbina scored once and assisted on Humberto Orozco’s goal to stake the Mountaineers to a 2-0 halftime lead they made stand up in a road win to open their Region 5-3A schedule.
Manuel Gonzalez had three saves in goal for North Murray (1-1), which took 12 shots on goal and had “a couple more that were close,” Mountaineers coach Matt Chambers said.
“It really wasn’t that close,” Chambers said. “We controlled possession and tempo of the game the whole time.”
Chambers said the Mountaineers did a better job in that department than in a 5-0 season-opening loss at Dalton earlier this month.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “We definitely have to work on making one more pass and controlling our passing a little bit more.”
• Ringgold girls 7, North Murray 0: Down 6-0 at the end of the first half, coach Justin Frazier said he was pleased the Lady Mountaineers buckled down in the second half in the team’s season opener.
• Ringgold 8, Dalton 5: Dalton pitchers only gave up six hits, but they walked nine batters to help host Ringgold to the win.
Tied 5-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers pushed across three runs and then held Dalton (1-1) scoreless in the seventh for the non-region victory.
Grant Sane led Dalton at the plate with a 2-for-4 night and three RBIs. Caleb Hill had a pair of hits and an RBI. Ringgold’s Slade Dale had a grand slam in the second.
• Three area games were postponed because of wet conditions. Makeup dates have not been set for Coahulla Creek at Christian Heritage and North Murray at Coosa. Southeast’s game Gordon Central has been rescheduled as a home doubleheader for the Raiders starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
• Coahulla Creek boys 5, Ringgold 0: The Colts won by sweep for the third straight match to open the season, getting singles victories from No. 1 Chase Lynch 6-4, 6-3, No. 2 Jake Mathis 6-2, 6-0, and No. 3 Alex Jarjoura, 6-0, 6-0, plus doubles wins from No. 1 Austin Turner and Donovan Newby, 7-5, 6-4, and No. 2 Andy Dixon and Jake Stevenson, 6-0, 6-1.
The Colts are also 3-0 in Region 5-3A.
• Coahulla Creek girls 5, Ringgold 0: The Lady Colts picked up their first victory of the season with the sweep, getting singles victories from No. 1 Erin Orem 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 Katherine Ann Sheppard, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 Vanessa Suarez, 6-1, 6-1, plus doubles wins from No. 1 Madison Zerbe and Hannah Locke, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 2 Kennedy Chand-ler and Olivia Hughes 6-1, 6-0.
Coahulla Creek is 1-2 both overall and against Region 5-3A competition.
• Murray County girls 5, Chattooga 0: The Lady Indians dropped just three games in a season-opening victory, getting singles victories from No. 1 Gabbie Bordelon, 6-1, 6-0, No. 2 Allison Jones, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 3 Trinity Rittenhouse, 6-1, 6-0, plus doubles wins from No. 1 Erica Steelman and Julie Cole, 6-0, 6-0,a nd No. 2 Chloe Brown and Kailey Webb, 6-0, 6-1.
• Chattooga boys 3, Murray County 2: Winners for the Indians in their season-opening loss were No. 1 Shawn Owens, 6-1, 7-5, and No. 2 Noel Moreno and Kevin Pintor, 6-3, 6-3.
• Northwest’s match with Christian Heritage at Lakeshore Park was postponed because of wet courts. No makeup date has been set.
• North Murray’s home match against Adairsville was postponed because of wet courts. The match has been rescheduled for 4 p.m. on March 26.
Track and field
• Two local meets were postponed because of wet conditions. Northwest’s meet at Southeast will not be made up, Southeast coach Mike Durham said. Dalton boys coach Scott Thompson said the school will attempt to make up its home meet with Gilmer, but a date has not been set.