SE Whitfield outlasts rival Northwest
TUNNEL HILL, Ga. (WRCB) -- Eighty minutes were not enough to decide this year's third and final meeting between rivals Southeast and Northwest Whitfield.
But 90 minutes proved plenty.
Southeast Whitfield scored one goal in each of the five-minute overtime periods to beat the host Bruins 2-0 in Wednesday night's Class AAAA state semifinal. The Raiders will face another cross-county rival, top-ranked Dalton, in Friday night's state championship match at 7:30 p.m. ET at either Kennesaw State University or West Georgia.
"What a great game. It was like watching two prize fighters," said Southeast coach Kevin Kettenring, whose program will play in the state final for the second time in five years. "This game could have gone either way. They had equal opportunities, throw-ins, corner kicks.
"It was a matter of inches and centimeters upon which this game turned. We're fortunate to be on this end."
The Raiders did it on each end of the field in extra time to advance.
Scoreless through regulation, Southeast Whitfield finally broke the tie when Alex Garcia finished Eric Solaises' free kick with a brilliant right-foot touch just seconds before the buzzer sounded in the first five-minute OT session.
"You just have to score that first goal," Kettenring said. "They had chances to tie it up, but once you get that first goal it is a huge momentum builder."
Riding that momentum, the Raiders added a second goal for breathing room two minutes into the second overtime period. Solaises sent another beautiful ball into the box from the right side that Alex Garcia finished with a header.
The two teams split during the regular season, each winning on the road. Southeast held to that theme with the season on the line, but will play Friday's state title game without captain Jorge Hurtado. He received a red card in the final two minutes and must sit out the team's next game.
"We're going to down there and have fun. We have to have fun and loosen it up," Kettenring said about Friday's fourth showdown of the season with Dalton. "The boys are going to have to step up. But I"m happy we're not playing on Harmon Field (in Dalton), since we haven't had much success there this year."
Dalton routs Spalding to earn spot in state final
DALTON, Ga. (WRCB) -- An offensive machine continued on course for a state championship Wednesday night at Harmon Field, where top-ranked Dalton cruised to an easy 7-0 win over visiting Spalding in the Class AAAA state semifinals.
The unbeaten Catamounts, who have now scored 29 goals in four playoff games, will face Southeast Whitfield for the state championship Friday night at Kennesaw State. Dalton beat the Raiders three times during the regular season.
Daniel Palacios scored twice to fuel a Catamount attack that out-shot Spalding 33-3 for the game.
Alan Pantaleon, Kobe Perez and Ramiro Huitanda joined Palacios with a first-half tally to give Dalton a 4-0 lead at the break. Palacios opened the second half scoring with about 25 minutes left to play, then Alan Lopez and Salvador Rodriguez added goals to close it out.
Raymundo Bahena notched two saves between the pipes to help keep the Catamounts unblemished at 21-0 for the season.
Calhoun upsets Greater Atlanta Christian on PK's
CALHOUN, Ga. (WRCB) -- Keeper Raul Moreno made two huge saves to help Calhoun out-score Greater Atlanta Christian 4-2 on penalty kicks to earn a 1-0 victory in the Class AA state semifinals.
The Jackets, who were making just the second Final Four appearance, will now face Westminster at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday in their first-ever state championship match.
Noe Martinez, Alex Hernandez, Darwin Lom and Brayan Forcado all scored PK's for Calhoun as the Jackets made four consecutive shots. Moreno not only made two saves in the PK period, but also turned away a GAC penalty kick during regulation when the Jackets were called for a handball in the box.
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