The senior class of Morris Innovative’s first boys soccer team made sure it went out a winner.
Carlos Martinez scored both goals — set up twice by fellow senior Gustavo Celis — as the Tigers beat visiting Darlington 2-1 in overtime Tuesday at Harmon Field for the first victory in program history.
It was the season finale for the Tigers (1-11-1, 1-8 Area 3-A), who faced the challenge of a thin roster in their first year and finished the inaugural campaign with 13 players on the roster. But coach Ernie Dempsey was proud of those players who kept going despite the disappointments.
“Every game we fought hard,” Dempsey said. “We didn’t have a lot of subs.
“But I told the guys in the locker room, ‘You kept working and kept fighting all year long. We took a lot of big losses on the chin. But for the next 1,000 years, as long as this school is around, there will never be another first win. You guys pushed through all of that adversity and tough spots and got that win.’”
The Tigers weren’t without adversity even in the victory — Darlington scored in the second minute of the match.
But Celis assisted as Martinez scored the tying goal in the 23rd minute, and the Tigers followed the same formula late in the second of the two five-minute overtime periods.
“We pushed the ball down into the corner and Gustavo kind of beat a guy on the goal line and just chipped it from deep in the corner over everybody’s heads,” Dempsey said. “Carlos was kind of set up on the back post, and he drilled it into the back of the net.
“We held them off for the final three minutes and held on for the first win in school history.”
Tuesday also marked the final match as a Tiger for senior Edgar Fraire.
Boys soccer is the first varsity sport for Morris Innovative, a Dalton Public Schools institution that opened in 2009. The Tigers fielded a junior varsity boys basketball team this past winter, and school officials have talked about adding other sports in the future, including cross country this fall.
• Northwest Whitfield boys 3, Baylor (Tenn.) 0: The Bruins (10-4), who scored three times in the second half, have won eight of their past nine games.
Emmanuel Pacheco scored in the 45th minute, and he was followed by Christian Perez (55th minute) and Miguel Villa (60th).
“Miguel actually scored from around 50 yards out and the wind took it and it bounced and went over the keeper’s head,” Northwest coach Ryan Scoggins said. “That was a really intense match. They are the No. 3-ranked team in Tennessee.”
Scoggins said the JV game was not played due to the threat of inclement weather.
• Holy Spirit Prep 7, Christian Heritage 0: Missing two starters, GISA Region 4-2A’s Lions came up short at Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Preparatory School, a Class 3A program which improved to 10-2 with the win.
The Lions fell to 3-4 with the loss.
Team captain and starting midfielder Casey Carroll was out because of illness, said Lions coach Caleb Mahoney, who also learned Tuesday that starting goalie Andrew McEntire is academically ineligible for the rest of the season.
“I will say we responded well to adversity,” Mahoney said. “We didn’t get our heads down and kept playing our game ... a lot of guys had to play in spots they weren’t used to because of the formation changes we had to make.”
Mahoney noted the play of freshman midfielder Christian Cady as well as center defender Phillip Jackson. He said Andreas Dixon has taken over in goal for McEntire, and that he “had several amazing saves.”
• Dalton boys 9, Cass 0: The Catamounts (13-2) got a hat trick from leading scorer Ramiro Huitanda, who now has 24 goals this season, and scored seven goals in the first half.
Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said the referee stopped the game 20 minutes into the second half.
Jesus Mercado, Alan Pantaleon, Andreas Barragan, Eder Mora, Rolando Rosillo and Javier Rodriguez each scored once.
“We’re finishing good and we were able to keep possession of the ball and move it around well and create chances,” Cheaves said.
Goalkeeper Raymundo Bahena recorded the shutout and made one save.
• Dalton girls 1, Cass 1: Jazmin Cervantes scored off of a Yanet Hernandez corner kick, and Dalton’s defense limited the Lady Colonels to a late goal in a non-region tie in White.
Elsewhere, the news was even better as Ringgold lost to Cedartown, assuring Dalton of a spot in the Class 3A state tournament as the No. 4 seed from Region 7-3A.
“This is my first year back and we made a lot of changes, but it means a lot to clinch that playoff spot,” Dalton coach Tony Carlson said. “We have a very young roster with only three seniors, so for these kids to play so hard and so strong says a lot about them.”
The Lady Cats (7-3-1) finished with 28 shots on goal, controlling the ball for most of the game, but failing to convert scoring opportunities. Cass was limited to 18 shots, and Dalton goalie Rosa Moreno made eight saves.
• Southeast Whitfield’s girls match with LaFayette was canceled. It was not a Region 7-3A game, and Lady Raiders coach Kevin Kettenring said it will not be rescheduled.
• North Murray’s boys tennis team was the only local team out of three to prevail at the Region 7-2A tournament and advance to the Georgia High School Association Class 2A state tournament. The Mountaineers won 3-2 against Rockmart at the Floyd Tennis Center in Rome.
The Mountaineers (9-2) got wins from No. 1 singles Drew Mosteller, 6-2, 6-2, No. 1 doubles Jacob Ledford and Alex Ellis, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 2 doubles Wesley Ross and Mark Lents, 6-1, 6-7 (7-4), 6-2.
The second round was rained out and North Murray will face River Ridge today at 9:30 a.m. With the region’s state tournament bids locked up, the teams are competing for seeding.
The Lady Mountaineers (7-4) did not have the same success, though. They lost 4-1 to Pepperrell, which means their season is over. The Lady Mountaineers’ lone winner came from No. 2 doubles Chandler Scott and Lindsey Ray, 6-4, 6-4.
Coahulla Creek’s boys team fell short against Armuchee, 5-0. The Colts (10-7) were in their first year and fell one win shy of advancing to state.
“We had a really good year,” Coahulla Creek coach David Friend said. “We’re a very young team and to get to the region tournament for the first year with no one graduating, it bodes well for the future.”
• Three Christian Heritage freshmen came up short in their quest for an individual Georgia Independent School Association Class 2A state championship.
Doubles tandem Phillip McClure and Evan Townsend won their semifinals match against Brentwood Academy seniors Damon Harris and Harris Jolley, 6-4, 6-3. In the championship match, they lost 6-4, 6-4 to Southwest Georgia Academy seniors Billy Grimsley and Adam Lowe.
“Phillip and Evan in that semifinals match were down 1-4 in the first set and came back and ended up beating them,” Lions coach Laurie McEntire said. “They were serving and going well into the finals. That final match was tight. The 6-4, 6-4 match could’ve gone either way. I think they really have a strong future in tennis in high school and beyond.”
Caroline Tarpley played Frederica Academy senior Elizabeth Martin in the girls singles semifinals but lost 6-1, 6-0. Tarpley’s opponent went on to win the state championship for the third time.
“Caroline played a really competitive match,” Lady Lions coach Elizabeth Hardaway said. “She has a lot of potential, and I look for good things from her over the next three years.”
• Christian Heritage 16, Furtah Prep 1: The Lions (10-4, 7-1) won in three innings to set up a matchup Thursday with The Heritage School that will decide the GISA Region 4-2A title.
Michael McKinney and Tre Mason each went 2-for-2, and Christian Heritage had eight hits total and benefited from 10 walks. Spencer Robbins pitched all three innings for the Lions and allowed only one hit.
“We went down there and did what we intended to do,” Lions coach Noah Stokes said.
The Heritage School beat Christian Heritage 8-7 earlier this year after scoring four runs in the final at-bat.
“We carried a 7-4 lead into the final inning, so we owe them one,” Stokes said.
• Coahulla Creek 4, Chattooga 2: Austin Busby’s grand slam and another complete game from Braiden Jacobs put the Colts (13-5, 8-4) in sole possession of second place in Sub-region 7B-2A.
Josh Swinford, Tucker Sheram and Scout Plott each had two hits and reached base in the sixth inning with Coahulla Creek trailing 2-0. With two outs, Busby launched a grand slam to completely change the landscape of the game and the postseason race.
The two teams entered the game tied for second place in the sub-region. The region sends four teams to the state playoffs, with the sub-region champs locking up two. The second- and third-place teams from each region cross over and play a best-of-three series to determine the final two playoff teams. With only two sub-region games left for the Colts — Thursday against North Murray and Friday against 7B-2A leader Calhoun — they control their own destiny.
Jacobs (6-1) pitched all seven innings, allowed both runs off six hits and struck out four. This was the third straight complete game for Jacobs, who has allowed only three runs in the past 20 innings.
“He’s Braiden being Braiden,” Coahulla Creek coach Michael Bolen said. “He’s throwing strikes and putting the ball in play and the defense is making plays behind him. That’s tough to beat.”
This was the sixth straight win for the Colts, who were 2-4 in the sub-region two weeks ago.
• North Murray boys 168, Calhoun 171, Darlington 181: The Mountaineers battled though inclement weather to complete a nine-hole match at Fields Ferry Golf Course in Calhoun.
Brandon Parrish was co-medalist with a 3-over-par 39. Colby Hipp (41), Ryan Ensley (45) and Adrian Patino (45) each had counting rounds for North Murray. Carson Bartley (46) and Tyler Duckett (47) also competed for the Mountaineers.
“It was tough conditions with the storm and everything,” North Murray coach Keith Robinette said.
• Christian Heritage’s nine-hole match against Crown Athletics at Woodmont Golf Club in Canton was stopped a few holes in because of inclement weather. With the Lions heading to the Georgia Independent School Association’s Region 4-2A tournament on Monday, the match will not be made up.