March 9, 2014

Devin Golden: Busy week highlighted by soccer in Varnell

Nothing was settled when the boys soccer teams from Coahulla Creek and Northwest Whitfield played to a scoreless draw.

Good news is that won’t happen Thursday.

Coahulla Creek’s Colts proved they can hang with an established program like Northwest’s Bruins, who reached the Class 4A semifinals a season ago, and now look to the biggest match of the young season in Region 5-3A. Up in Varnell, those Colts will host the North Murray Mountaineers in a matchup of undefeated league teams atop the standings. The girls match starts at 5 p.m., and the boys match begins at 7 p.m.

Coahulla Creek entered the season with momentum from its first state playoff appearance a year ago and hopes of competing for a region crown. North Murray, last year’s region champs and the Region 7-2A champs in 2012, provide the biggest obstacle yet.

Neither team is ranked (even though they both should be, considering Northwest is ranked fifth in Class 4A) in Eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 3A coaches poll. Both teams have beaten Cartersville — believed as the other region title contender — by 3-1 margins. And both teams have avoided disappointment this season, as Coahulla Creek is 5-0-1 and North Murray is 4-0.

That will change. Coahulla Creek and Northwest settled for a 0-0 tie because it was a non-region match and the teams weren’t required to play extra time. In league matches, a winner must be determined.

This is one of three huge soccer matches happening between teams from Murray and Whitfield counties.

• The second is the one on Tuesday night in Tunnel Hill.

Dalton has won 27 straight games — two shy of the number of runs Southeast Whitfield’s baseball team scored Saturday against Gordon Central — and Northwest will be the next team trying to put an end to the run.

The boys start at 7 p.m., before the girls 5 p.m. match, as top-ranked Dalton aims for a second straight win against a Whitfield County rival after winning 2-0 on Friday against Southeast.

• Last, Morris Innovative looks for a bit of payback Thursday against Murray County.

The Indians won 2-0 last week with the help of two penalty kicks, but Morris Innovative’s Tigers weren’t out-classed by the No. 4-ranked team in Class 2A. Murray County has won all three times the sides have played since being paired in Region 7-2A, but none of those times were dominant efforts.

The girls play at 5 p.m., with the boys following at 7 p.m. at Harmon Field.

• Baseball teams in regions 7-4A and 5-3A don’t start playing one another until next week. Coahulla Creek and undefeated Northwest are spending the week playing southeast Tennessee schools.

The Bruins start Wednesday at McCallie School playing Mount Juliet. They host Cleveland at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and join the Colts in the Scenic City Classic on Friday and Saturday — Coahulla Creek plays St. Benedict at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. Northwest plays at McCallie on Friday, while Coahulla Creek plays at Baylor. Both games start at 5:30 p.m.

Northwest plays at Baylor on Saturday at 11:15 a.m., while Coahulla Creek plays at Boyd Buchanan at 2 p.m. and then against White County at McCallie School at 5:30 p.m.

The only baseball game pitting local teams against one another is Southeast hosting Murray County on Friday at 5 p.m.

Christian Heritage has a packed schedule of Sub-region 6A-A games, starting Monday at Gordon Lee with a 5:30 p.m. scheduled first pitch. The Lions play at Walker-Marietta on Thursday but host Darlington at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

• Tuesday and Saturday offer the first big local golf tournaments of the season. Christian Heritage, Dalton and Northwest play the first round of the North Georgia Invitational on Tuesday, and Dalton hosts the Lady Cat Invitational on Saturday.

Saturday also is the second high-profile track meet after this past weekend’s Northwest/Southeast Invitational. Dalton, Murray County, North Murray, Northwest and Southeast will be at the Ronnie McClurg-Rotary Invitational at Dalton High’s facilities.

• The Daily Citizen’s “After Deadline” podcast returns this week and will talk about the race for All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year, along with candidates for the first-team, plus the significance of the Dalton boys soccer team’s current winning streak, and at what point does it become historic.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. He’s planning the perfect NCAA tournament bracket — anchored by Villanova winning it all — in his annual pretending to be a college basketball expert. You can follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev or email him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

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