Boys soccer blog: McIntosh, Starr’s Mill battle for supremacy ... again

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One of the biggest matches of the season will decide a region championship Thursday when Class 5A No. 1 McIntosh takes on No. 2 Starr’s Mill for Peachtree City’s soccer version of “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.”

Both teams are playing to form, and both are determined to win the Region 2-5A title. The close proximity of the programs should produce  strong efforts.

McIntosh defeated Starr’s Mill 3-2 in the 2019 state championship game at Mercer University in Macon. Both programs were poised for a chance at a repeat trip to the title game last season, but COVID-19 interrupted the show.

“The last time these two teams played was the state championship game two years ago,” said Starr’s Mill head coach Aaron Buck. “So that is a really, really long time for two teams that have been this close, with this much of a rivalry, to not play. So it’s got a really good energy built up for it.”

According to Buck, matches against McIntosh – a school just six miles from Starr’s Mill’s campus on the outskirts of Peachtree City -- take on a new level of competition.

“Back in December,” Buck said, “that was the first game circle on the calendar. And it is every year.”

Starr’s Mill has two boys state titles  – a 3A championship in 2000 and a 4A title in 2010. But the loss to McIntosh in 2019′s title game stung a little more than it would losing to any other program in the state. But mutual respect is alive in the rivalry, and the players are familiar with each other on multiple levels.

“The coolest part about this rivalry is that, in those 80 minutes, it is an absolute battle,” Buck said. “The tackles are heavy. Every player has extra energy about them. But when the game is over they’ll say, ‘Hey I’ll see you this weekend on the club team,’ or ‘I’ll see you at church.’ So it is a healthy rivalry.”

Both programs have championship prowess, and depending on bracket seedings, it would not be a surprise to see them meet again in the title game. McIntosh has seven boys soccer championship trophies in its case – one in 1992, a 4A title in 2000, when Starr’s Mill also won the 3A championship, a 4A championship in 2007, back-to-back 5A titles in 2013-14 and another in 2017 to go with 2019′s championship.

Starr’s Mill enters the match riding a 12-match winning streak, including a 10-0 victory against Griffin on Tuesday. McIntosh has not dropped a match this season (16-0) and beat Class 2A No. 9 Pace Academy 6-0 on Saturday.

Note: The author graduated from Starr’s Mill in 2006.

Follow the links to the SCORE ATLANTA SOCCER SCOREBOARD FOR THURSDAY or the EUROSPORTSCOREBOARD.

See the top 10 rankings below.

Class 7A

1. Alpharetta

2. South Forsyth

3. South Gwinnett

4. Forsyth Central

5. Harrison

6. Brookwood

7. Lambert

8. Discovery

9. Hillgrove

10. Duluth

Class 6A

1. Dalton

2. Johns Creek

3. Central Gwinnett

4. Rome

5. Lassiter

6. River Ridge

7. Lakeside-Evans

8. Allatoona

9. Lakeside-DeKalb

10. Sprayberry

Class 5A

1. McIntosh

2. Starr’s Mill

3. St. Pius X

4. Clarke Central

5. Johnson-Gainesville

6. Woodward

7. Cross Keys

8. Veterans

9. Eastside

10. Blessed Trinity

Class 4A

1. Southeast Whitfield

2. Northwest Whitfield

3. Marist

4. Flowery Branch

5. East Hall

6. Jefferson

7. Chestatee

8. LaGrange

9. Columbus

10. Druid Hills

Class 3A

1. Westminster

2. Pike County

3. Oconee County

4. White County

5. Coahulla Creek

6. Richmond Academy

7. Morgan County

8. West Hall

9. Cherokee Bluff

10. Mary Persons

Class 2A

1. Lovett

2. Putnam County

3. Bremen

4. Gordon Central

5. Thomasville

6. Jeff Davis

7. Model

8. Union County

9. Pace Academy

10. Bacon County

Class A Public

1. ACE Charter

2. Towns County

3. Georgia Military

4. Armuchee

5. Dooly County

6. Lake Oconee Academy

7. Social Circle

8. Atkinson County

9. Metter

10. Portal

Class A Private

1. Atlanta International

2. Athens Academy

3. Paideia

4. St. Anne Pacelli

5. Whitefield Academy

6. Heritage-Newnan

7. First Presbyterian Day

8. Savannah Country Day

9. Wesleyan

10. Providence Christian

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