Not even the scouting report could accurately demonstrate how fast a team the Chestatee boys soccer team would encounter in Northwest Whitfield on Wednesday at War Eagle Stadium.
The Bruins used their quickness to create scoring opportunities that turned into goals, and the War Eagles were defeated 4-1 in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
“I thought at times when we possessed the ball, we held the ball very well and could slow down the ball down to play it,” Chestatee coach Mike Herrin said. “But when we turned the ball over and they countered, they were very fast.”
A battle between two state-ranked squads, fifth-ranked Northwest Whitfield (15-5) proved to be the stronger side offensively, while making sure third-ranked Chestatee’s lone goal in the second half didn’t turn into a late rally for the hosting War Eagles (17-3).
Marco Rebollar scored on a penalty kick to cut Chestatee’s deficit to 2-1 with 23:22 left to play in the contest. Momentum had seemingly swung back in favor for the War Eagles, but was quickly deflated when the Bruins answered with a goal four minutes later by Giovanni Aguero, and another with 7:13 left to play by Bryan Villa.
“They’re a good team — they capitalize and take advantage of mistakes,” Herrin said. “They were very accurate with their shots, and they put balls in there. They were the better team tonight, no doubt about it.”
Chestatee completes one its most successful seasons in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The War Eagles have yet to reach the quarterfinals.
Northwest Whitfield is back in the quarterfinals for a second straight season. The Bruins visit Mary Persons on Saturday.
“There’s no room for error at a game at this level,” Herrin said. “They’re a good team, and they’ve played the No. 1 team in the state three times. They’re getting good competition.”
Chestatee never led in the match, giving up two goals in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Christian Perez scored the game’s first goal for Northwest Whitfield, ripping a free kick past the War Eagles’ defensive wall and bouncing the ball past goalkeeper Andres Olivas.
Damian Lara scored 13 minutes later by tapping in the ball from an open side of the net. Aguero was credited with the assist after his short cross from the right post that he volleyed to his teammate.
The War Eagles received three yellow cards in a four-minute span following Lara’s goal. Chestatee was carded four times in the game to Northwest Whitfield’s one.
“It’s frustrating, because the guys know they were better than that,” Herrin said. “When that quick goal happens and you get down, then they get the second goal and you get scared, now it becomes desperation instead of relaxing and playing the game.”
“Just mentally, we made some mistakes, and that was a frustration on those guys’ parts.”
Olivas made 11 saves in the losing effort. The two goals he allowed in the second half came from a considerable distance, including Villa’s rolling shot from long range. Aguero’s goal came on a point-blank attempt from atop the box in traffic, arcing just over the hands of Alivas.
Miguel Deanda made seven saves for Northwest Whitfield.