Boys soccer blog: Eight solid programs put championship touch on 2021 season

South Forsyth (Class 7A) and Coahulla Creek (3A) won boys soccer state championships for the first time in the history of their respective programs, and Dalton (6A), McIntosh (5A), Georgia Military (A Public) and Wesleyan (A Private) successfully defended titles from 2019 last Thursday and Friday as the soccer season came to a close.

In Class 4A, Southeast Whitfield won the program’s second title, but first since 2017. Pace Academy won the Class 2A title to capture its second championship and first since 2006.

Here’s how things played out:

-- In Class 7A, South Forsyth outlasted two-time defending champion Lambert 2-1. South Forsyth took a 1-0 lead on a Patrick Kelly short chip shot, which set up by a flawless assist from Gavin Williams from 35 yards out. Lambert pulled even on a goal from Chase Bell, and the teams finished regulation tied 1-1. Dino Stavros scored what would be the game-winner at the end of the first overtime period, and the Eagles were able to hold on for the victory. Lambert had won the past two state championships in 7A and a 4A title in 2012.

-- In Class 6A, Dalton had to weather an early goal by Johns Creek, but within minutes the Catamounts erased the deficit. Fernando Guerrero scored the tying goal with 25:45 left in the first half, and FIlemon Quintero found the net with 6:50 left to put Dalton ahead. Zeke Ortiz scored seconds before the half to put the Catamounts ahead 3-2. Johns Creek scored with 15:51 left in the match, but Dalton’s defense kept the Gladiators from sweeping the classification on both sides after the girl’s victory. Johns Creek was trying for its first boys title.

-- In Class 5A, McIntosh earned the storied program its eighth soccer championship after a 2-1 victory against Johnson-Gainesville. Both Chiefs goals came in the final 12 minutes after trailing most of the match. McIntosh scored with 13:16 left to tie the game, and the game-winner with 1:14 left sealed it. It was Johnson-Gainesville that beat McIntosh in the 2018 state championship, thwarting the Chiefs chance at a title defense. McIntosh also won back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014.

-- Southeast Whitfield scored three unanswered goals in the second half to pull away and capture its second state championship with a 4-0 victory against East Hall in Class 4A. The Raiders led 1-0 entering the second half before scoring early to take a 2-0 lead. Southeast Whitfield scored with 34:57 and 20:06 left to put the contest out of reach. The Raiders also won the 2017 4A state championship.

-- Coahulla Creek made the most of the overtime period, scoring two of its three goals to overwhelm and upset Westminster 3-1 in the 3A title match. Westminster entered the match as three-time defending champions and was trying for its 15th state soccer championship.

-- After going scoreless in regulation and through the overtime period in the 2A title match, Pace Academy won its second state championship with a 5-goal performance in penalty kicks. Pace had not won a state title since 2006. Lovett has seven soccer titles but has not won a state championship since 2003.

-- It might have taken two overtime periods, but two goals in the extra time lifted Georgia Military past ACE Charter 2-0 and to its second consecutive A Public championship. Six minutes into overtime Ethan Tolentino broke the scoreless streak and gave GMC a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Tolentino found the net again to put the match out of reach. ACE Charter was trying for its first state title for the four-year old program.

-- Wesleyan beat Atlanta International 3-1 in penalty kicks to successfully defend its 2019 Class A Private title and win the program’s third soccer championship. The Wolves overcame a 2-0 Atlanta International lead late in the match, but by the end of regulation the teams were tied at two goals each. Atlanta International was trying for its first title.

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