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High school soccer: Region title battles beginning to take shape
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The race for the Region 7-AAA boys soccer title is shaping up to be an exciting one, and no one is hotter right now than Dawson County.

The fourth-ranked Tigers have reeled off eight straight wins since suffering a 4-0 loss to Class AAAAA’s sixth-ranked Gainesville (6-1-1) in the season opener, outscoring opponents 44-5 during that stretch.

However, the Tigers (8-1, 1-0) are one of four area teams in Region 7-AAA currently ranked in the state’s top 10, alongside No. 3 East Hall (4-1-3, 2-0), No. 7 West Hall (5-2-2, 1-0) and No. 8 North Hall (5-2-1, 1-1).

None of the four are scheduled to face each other until East Hall hosts North Hall on March 25, setting the table for first place to be decided by those head-to-head matches in the final leg of the season.

Region 8-AAAA features a smaller field of favorites for the boys’ title, but it also includes a pair of area teams riding big winning streaks.

No. 4 Chestatee (8-1, 4-0) has won seven straight games since suffering a 2-1 loss to North Hall on Feb. 20, while No. 2 Johnson (8-0, 3-0) is the area’s last remaining unbeaten boys squad.

The War Eagles, who defeated the Knights 1-0 in their meeting last year en route to a perfect 8-0 finish in the region, will face the Knights on March 28 in Oakwood.

Meanwhile, four of the area’s girls soccer teams are ranked, led by Class AAA No. 4 Buford (6-2, 2-0 Region 7-AAA).

But, once again, the hottest team in the area may reside in Dawson County.

The No. 7 Lady Tigers (7-0-2, 1-0) have won seven straight games since opening the season with a pair of ties against Gainesville and North Forsyth. Defense has been key for Dawson County, which has shut out seven of its nine opponents this season.

The Lady Tigers will face No. 10-ranked White County (7-1-2, 3-0) in a key Region 7-AAA matchup on Friday.

In Region 8-AAAAA, the sixth-ranked Flowery Branch girls (7-1-1, 2-0) could be headed for a title fight with Gainesville (8-0-1, 3-0), which is not ranked but is undefeated.

The Lady Falcons are coming off a dominant 10-0 victory over Salem, while the Lady Red Elephants have strung together a series of dramatic wins.

Gainesville has posted two straight region wins on penalty kicks — 1-0 over Loganville and 2-1 over Apalachee — only days after rallying from a three-goal deficit to defeat West Hall 5-4 on March 7.

Flowery Branch and Gainesville will face off on March 28 at City Park Stadium.

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