Boys soccer blog: How eight teams won state championships

Credit: GHSA Twitter

Credit: GHSA Twitter

The end of the boys GHSA soccer season produced two champions who defended last year’s titles, two first-time champions and several teams who reclaimed the top spots at the end of the season.

Here’s how things went in the eight state title games:

Class 7A

The final: Lambert 4, Walton 3

Final record: 21-1-1

How Lambert won: Lambert outscored Walton 5-4 in penalty kicks to secure the victory after ending regulation tied at 3. Senior Santino Barrionueo and juniors Cole Nelson and Mason Keith each scored goals in regulation. Barrionueo’s goal, with 1:18 left in regulation, forced overtime for Lambert.

Playoff path to the title: The Longhorns defeated Wheeler 4-0, Peachtree Ridge 4-1, Richmond Hill 2-0 and Collins Hill 2-1 to secure the championship berth.

Historical perspective: Lambert previously won state titles in 2012, 2018 and 2019.

Top players: Nelson (19 goals), senior Max Degyansky (15 goals) and Keith (14 goals).

Class 6A

The final: Lassiter 3, River Ridge 2 (PKs)

Final record: 18-2

How Lassiter won: Tyler Aromin scored a goal with 21:58 left in the first half. River Ridge got goals from Chris Asbridge and Dean Matthews to take a 2-1 lead with 22:20 left in regulation. Aiden McConnie scored the game-tying goal with 12:19 left in the match. Armonin’s penalty kick secured the victory for the Trojans.

Playoff path to the title: Lassiter beat Habersham Central 5-1, Rome 1-0, St. Pius X 3-1 and Johns Creek 1-0 to secure the championship berth.

Historical perspective: Lassiter won state titles in 1996 and 2022.

Top player: Junior Aiden McConnie (13 goals)

Class 5A

The final: Dalton 2, Midtown 0

Final record: 21-2

How Dalton won: Sophomore Luis Favela scored two overtime goals to secure the victory.

Playoff path to the title: Dalton defeated Jefferson 4-0, Chattahoochee 3-1, Chamblee 4-3 and Flowery Branch 6-0 to earn the championship berth.

Historical perspective: The victory marked the seventh state title for the Catamounts after winning championships in 2003, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Top player: Favela

Class 4A

The final: Johnson-Gainesville 4, Westminster 2

Final record: 21-0

How Johnson-Gainesville won: Junior forward Edgar Vazquez scored the go-ahead goal with 14:23 left in regulation, and senior midfielder Jorge Sandoval notched the final goal as time expired. Vazquez scored with 36:18 left in the first half to put Johnson ahead 1-0. Sophomore forward Daniel Trujillo extended the lead with a goal at 23:58 for Johnson. Westminster found momentum from a goal from junior midfielder Campbell Henn with 22:20 left in the first half. Early in the second half, Westminster senior defender Noah Cooney scored to tie the match.

Playoff path to the title: Johnson-Gainesville beat Central-Carroll 9-0, Holy Innocents’ 2-0, Whitewater 7-1 and North Oconee 4-0 to earn the championship berth.

Historical perspective: Johnson-Gainesville successfully defended last year’s title and previously won a state championship in 2018.

Top Players: Edgar Vazquez, Daniel Trujillo

Class 3A

The final: Coahulla Creek 1, Oconee County 0

Final record: 19-1-2

How Coahulla Creek won: Coahulla Creek needed both of the scoreless regulation periods and one overtime period to find offensive production and win the program’s second state championship. A goal from sophomore midfielder/defender Cruz Barcenas with 1:13 left in the first overtime period proved the difference.

Playoff path to the title: The Colts shut out Carver-Atlanta 10-0, West Hall 2-0, Peach County 4-0 and Oconee County 1-0.

Historical perspective: The victory brought Coahulla Creek’s second title after winning the 2021 championship.

Top players: Senior Saul Barcenas (31 goals), junior Miguel Arredondo (19 goals), C. Barcenas (15 goals), sophomore Omar Mendiola (12 goals).

Class 2A

The final: Tattnall County 3, Providence Christian 2

Final record: 18-3

How Tattnall County won: Two second-half goals from sophomore midfielder Yajir Estrada, including the game-winning score, proved critical after Tattnall County trailed 2-0 early in the second half. Estrada’s game-winner came with 14:28 left in the match, forcing Tattnall’s defense to keep Providence Christian at bay to secure the victory.

Playoff path to the title: Tattnall County defeated Thomson 10-0, Spencer 5-1, Fellowship Christian 4-1 and Union County 3-1 to secure the championship berth.

Historical perspective: It was the first state title for Tattnall County.

Top players: Senior Chris Ortega (28 goals), senior Albert Ovalle (27 goals), senior Andrew Fermin (21 goals) and sophomore Yajir Estrada (20 goals).

Class A Division I

The final: Paideia 2, Atlanta International 1

Final record: 15-0-5

How Paideia won: The Pythons weathered a 5-4 shootout victory to secure the championship. Sammy Kodish scored match-tying goal in regulation to force the shootout.

Playoff path to the title: Paideia shut out Jasper County 9-0, Trion 9-0, Lamar County 9-0 and Armuchee 6-0 to reach the finals.

Historical perspective: Paideia has five titles since 2013 – 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and this season.

Top players: Sophomore Noah Armour (17 goals), junior Sawyer Northrop (12 goals), junior Sammy Kodish (11 goals) and senior Taberak Hillo (10 goals).

Class A Division II

The final: Christian Heritage 2, Georgia Military 1

Final record: 13-1-3

How Christian Heritage won: Two goals from senior Marco Arostegui helped lead Christian Heritage to the program’s first-ever state title and thwarted two-time champion Georgia Military’s attempt at its third title in four seasons. Tied at one goal each in the second half, Arostegui scored on a header with 7:08 to play to give Christian Heritage the lead for good.

Playoff path to the title: After a first-round bye, Christian Heritage defeated Washington-Wilkes 10-0, Lake Oconee Academy 5-1 and Atkinson County 3-1.

Historical perspective: The victory provided the program’s first-ever state championship.

Top players: Marco Arostegui (29 goals), senior Peter Pridgen (17 goals), junior Carson Russell (12 goals), senior Elliot Forsman (12 goals), senior Ivan Agua (10 goals).