Every time the Georgia representatives had a good chance in Saturday’s Stump on Sports Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Boys Soccer Classic, Tennessee goalkeeper Tim Barnes was there.
And in a rare event, some of the best boys soccer players from the three best high school teams in Whitfield County lost to someone other than a county rival.
Tennessee’s side swept the two matches played at Finley Stadium, winning 5-2 in the girls and followed with a 3-0 victory in the boys contest. The series features recent high school graduates in battles for border bragging rights, pulling players from up to a dozen counties in northwestern Georgia and as many in southeastern Tennessee for its annual games. In this year’s series, which started June 8 with the all-star football game and continued last Tuesday with the boys and girls basketball games, Tennessee has won four out of five contests.
Tennessee now leads the girls series 6-1-1 and the boys series 7-1.
This year appeared to be a good one for Georgia in the boys game considering how stacked the roster was with players from Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield, three schools that all reached the Georgia High School Association Class 4A state playoffs. Dalton and Southeast reached the finals, where Dalton won 5-0. Those three teams combined for a record of 51-11-1. Dalton went undefeated. Northwest lost six games, five to either Dalton or Southeast. And the Raiders lost five times, all to either Dalton or Northwest.
Seventeen of the 18 players on the Georgia squad were from these three schools, but it didn’t help in getting past Barnes, who Tennessee coach Jim Schermerhorn called “the man” in this game.
“He has the potential and he’s just a good goalkeeper,” said Schermerhorn, who coached Barnes at Notre Dame this season.
Tennessee’s goalkeeper made 15 saves and won the Tennessee Player of the Game Award. In the first half alone, Dalton’s Andres Barragan and Northwest’s David Perez executed a give-and-go play but Barragan’s shot was deflected by Barnes. Southeast’s Erik Salaises had an attempt from within 5 yards blocked by Barnes, and Perez tried to squeeze one inside the near post toward the end of the first half but Barnes again made the play.
“We had clear chances to at least score one or two,” said Perez, who was Georgia’s Player of the Game one year after his brother and 2012 Northwest graduate Mario Perez won the award. “But they took advantage of their chances.”
However, Georgia goalkeeper Raymundo Bahena, who played for Dalton, held Tennessee scoreless through the first half. In the second half, Tennessee found chance after chance getting behind the Georgia defenders and scored three times on goalkeeper Chris Monroig, who also played at Dalton. Notre Dame’s Baggio Card scored just five minutes into the second half from around 25 yards away, East Hamilton’s Jalen Goddard scored on a free kick around 10 minutes later and McCallie School’s Hunter Brock finished a counter off a Georgia corner kick with less than five minutes in the game.
Tennessee had 14 shots on goal. Georgia had 16.
“I think both teams had good chances,” said Georgia coach Ryan Scoggins, who also coaches Northwest. “The heat in a game like this with two competitive, even teanm, I knew the first goal would be critical. Then they got the goal right at the beginning of the second half and now you’re not thinking about winning but about getting out of the heat.”
Also on the Georgia roster were: Dalton’s Jerry Moreno, Daniel Palacios, Marcos Ruiz, Jose Plaza and Alan Pantaleon; Northwest’s Christian Perez, Giovanni Aguero, Celo Nunez and Damien Lara; and Southeast’s Jorge Hurtado, who missed the game due to a prior commitment, and Alex Rosillo.
The remaining games in the Stump on Sports series are baseball (6 p.m. Tuesday at Ridgeland High School in Rossville) and softball (6 p.m. Wednesday at Frost Stadium in Chattanooga).
Stump Martin, the Classics’ creator, was a reporter for the Chattanooga News-Free Press and Chattanooga Times Free Press for 19 years and also was on ESPN Radio’s 105.1 The Zone in Chattanooga. He is managing editor of Friday Night Football Live Tennessee and co-owner of Tennessee’s high school Rivals.com website, TNVarsity.com. He has hosted “Stump on Sports Late Nite,” a live sports television show, for nearly 30 years.