GAINESVILLE -- "Heartbreaker" was all Chestatee boys soccer Mike Herrin could come up with after watching his War Eagles lose 1-0 on penalty kicks in gut-wrenching fashion Saturday night to Stone Mountain in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
The Pirates, who move on to play LaGrange next week in the second round, tallied four scores in the penalty kicks while Chestatee managed just three to pull out the victory.
The two teams played to a 0-0 standstill after 80 minutes of regulation and two five-minute overtime periods.
Chestatee, the No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAA, did everything it wanted to on the field except score. They hit the crossbar five times in regulation and the upright once in the PK phase.
"I feel for the seniors because we lost in the second round the last two years and we really felt we had a chance to go further this year," Herrin said. "A heartbreaking loss. But that happens.
"We had so many chances but just couldn't find the back of the net. I thought we controlled the game most of the way. But (Stone Mountain) is very fast to the ball and played great defense. You have to give them credit."
Still, Chestatee was just inches from taking an easy win.
Midway through the first half Chestatee's Arnold Gamez looped a beautiful 30-yard shot that Pirates' keeper Eduardo Guevera was just able to flick over the crossbar at the last second.
In the second half, the War Eagles created two corners in the 10th minute, with Cristian Felix hitting the crossbar with a header on the second one. Two minutes later Junior Nogueda hit the crossbar on a 20-yard blast.
With 16 minutes left Felix, after some nifty dribbling, fired a blast from 15-yards out that just clipped the crossbar for another close miss for the War Eagles.
Felix almost broke the tie on a corner with three minutes left but his header on a beautiful cross sailed just wide. Stone Mountain would counter moments later and generate a corner with two minutes left but a Chestatee defender cleared a header attempt in front of the goal to keep the game tied.
Chestatee made one final rush in the waning moments of regulation but Arturo Leal's shot with two seconds left was snared by the Pirates's Guevera to send it to overtime.
Neither team could generate much in the overtime periods as the defenses controlled the action.
In the PK round, Felix and Juan Mejia both scored while the Pirates got goals from DeKalb County's second leading scorer Roubin Dikori and Marcus Duarto. On the third and fourth attempts, Leal's shot sailed just high and Gamez hit the upright while Munda Sheriff scored to give Stone Mountain a 3-2 advantage going into the final round.
Junior Nogueda scored for Chestatee to tie it but German Ruiz slid a shot past Chestatee keeper Cristian Zapatero to send the Pirates into the second round.
"You never like to go to PKs because anything can happen," Herrin said. "You practice it but you can never simulate the pressure on doing it live. Our guys played their hearts out. It's a tough way to end it but we're a young team and we have a lot of talent coming up."
Stone Mountain used its speed in the first half to generate a half-dozen scoring chances. Dikori blasted several long balls into the Chestatee zone and speedster Luckie Teah had three breakaway chances.
But the Chestatee defense was able to clear the zone and Zapatero made two saves to keep the Pirates scoreless.
The War Eagles possession game kept the Pirates on their heels the first 15 minutes of the second half. But a collision between Zapatero and Stone Mountain's Tommy Woldensenbet knocked both from the game temporarily.
Miguel Calderon took over for Zapatero and made two saves within the next five minutes.
Dikori nearly broke the tie for Stone Mountain with six minutes left in regulation but just missed on a 20-yard direct kick. Two minutes later Gamez got a direct kick opportunity for Chestatee from just outside the box but the shot was deflected by the Pirates.
In regulation and overtime Chestatee outshot Stone Mountain 21-11 and had six corners to five for the Pirates.
The War Eagles finished the season 13-5 with the loss.