By Stephen Black
Class AAAAAA No. 1 Lassiter came up big in the last week with shutout wins over Etowah and Wheeler. On Friday, the Trojans (12-0) dispatched Wheeler 5-0. Lassiter rectified the woes it had defensively against Roswell, which scored three goals on the Trojans on March 19. Lassiter jumped out to a 3-0 half-time lead and cruised to the Region 5 victory, which saw two goals each by freshman sensation Munear Abousaud and senior Alex Champion. Senior midfielder Robbie Cutchin also found the back of the net.
“We had been working on our attack,” said first-year Trojans coach Sam Dietrich. “Making that final pass in the final third and working as a group offensively. Our opponents had been putting numbers behind the ball making it extremely difficult to score.”
Following the win over Wheeler (3-5-1) Lassiter beat another Region 5-opponent, this time Etowah (8-4). Champion again struck twice while Cutchin completed the scoring for Lassiter. The Trojans travel to Woodstock (3-4) Saturday for another region contest before meeting Class A-power Darlington (2-2-1) on April 1.
No. 2 Centennial has not given up a goal since March 5 in a 4-1 win at Alpharetta, and has not lost a match since March 1. The last team to beat the Knights (11-2) was ironically No. 4 Lambert (10-2), which Centennial edged Tuesday 1-0. In the last meeting, a 2-0 Lambert win, the Longhorns dictated the pace early and forced their direct attacking style on Centennial, which conceded a goal in the first four minutes of the game. This time, however, the Knights turned the tables.
“We wanted to dictate the tempo of the game,” said Centennial coach Phillip Thomas. “I thought we did that for the first 20 minutes or so. Lambert made us uncomfortable in the second half. They are a good team for a reason.”
However, with three minutes remaining in the match, Knights junior midfielder Diego Torres was fouled in the penalty area which gave Centennial a penalty kick. Senior defender Cameron Bean calmly converted to give the Knights the game’s only goal. Both teams were missing key players as Centennial was without junior forward Dioney Vega while Lambert senior forward Bobby Hopper was out.
On Friday, Centennial dispatched Region 6-rival Chattahoochee (2-11) 3-0. Vega, Bean and junior forward Sergio Hinojosa each found the back of the net. Centennial was coming off one of its best performances of the season on March 19 when the Knights routed No. 10 South Forsyth 4-0. Bean, Vega, senior forward Brian Bradley and senior defender Harris Malone each scored goals. Vega’s strike opened the scoring in the first and the Knights carried the 1-0 lead into the half. South Forsyth (8-5) went on to hand Lambert its first loss of the season. Bean leads Centennial with 10 goals this season.
Walton (8-3) has won three straight, all against Region 5 competition, after starting the season 5-3. In the past week, the Raiders beat Milton (2-0) and Cherokee (5-0). The March 19 win over Milton (3-4-2) saw Walton strike twice in the first half off throw-ins to the penalty area. In the win over Cherokee (1-9), senior Tim del Risco scored the opening goal before senior Sommy Khalaj gave the Raiders their second goal. Junior Davis Carbo also scored as Walton led 3-0 at the half.
The Raiders travel to Lambert Thursday night before a home match against east Cobb-rival Pope (5-3-1).