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East Hall boys earn berth in Class AAA state championship soccer match
Vikings topped Savannah Arts Academy 5-1 in state semifinals Tuesday
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State finals

Thursday, May 12

East Hall vs. Decatur, 2:30 p.m. (at Mercer University)

Saturday, May 14

Johnson vs. St. Pius X, 2:30 p.m. (at Mercer University)

East Hall is headed to the Class AAA championship game thanks to a strong second half performance by Leo Toledo. The Vikings knocked off Savannah Arts Academy, 5-1, on Tuesday at Vikings Stadium.

The Mercer signee Toledo scored three goals in the second half to put the game out of reach after a closely contested first half that saw the Vikings come out a little nervous.

“We came out with a lot of Final Four nerves,” East Hall coach Chris Horton said. “We started to settle down and we just stuck with the game plan and played it out. They are a very good team and we were still able to put quit a few goals on them.”

With the win, the Vikings will face Decatur for the Class AAA state championship at 2:30 p.m. at Five Star Stadium in Macon.

Despite the first-half nerves, East Hall still sported a 2-0 halftime lead, and once the Vikings were able to shake off the nerves of hosting a state semifinal match, it was clear who the better team was.

“After I get going, after I score the first, I feel like no one can stop me,” Toledo said.

Savannah Arts Academy made a strong push at the start of the second half, scoring just three minutes in as it looked like it may be a repeat of East Hall’s quarterfinal match against Blessed Trinity. This time, however, Toledo and the Vikings closed the door on their opponents.

“(Toledo) is a special soccer player,” Horton said “He knows how to do things with the ball and it shows.

“He puts it in the net.”

For Savannah Arts Academy, it was a rough end to an historic season.

“We had some awesome senior leadership on the team this season, so for them to make it to the semifinals this year, that is a barrier we have never been able to achieve at Savannah Arts Academy,” Savannah Arts Academy coach Jdhordane Williams said. “Hats off to East Hall. They are a very tough squad. All cylinders were firing for that team today, and we sputtered a couple of times, but that team is absolute quality. If we are going to lose a match, we lost to a quality opponent, and I’m not OK with losing but if you have to swallow that pill, I’d rather swallow it from somebody who’s worthy.”

“We definitely want to put forth a great effort,” Horton said. “That’s the best soccer we played all year and hopefully we will continue that trend.”

“I think we just keep doing what we’re doing,” Toledo said. “Nobody can stop us.”

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