Sunday October 1st, 2023 5:55AM

Soccer: Johnson-Dalton boys highlight busy night on the pitch

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Eight Northeast Georgia girls teams and five boys teams are ranked in the top 10 of their respective classifications nearing the midpoint of the 2023 soccer season.

Two teams -- the Johnson boys and the Buford girls -- are ranked in the top 10 in the latest scoreboard poll. Of those Baker’s Dozen of teams, eight will be in action on Friday, six in crucial region contests.

However, the marquee matchup of the night will be a non-region showdown. The Johnson boys (9-0), ranked first in Class 4A and second in the All-Class poll, travel to Class 5A No. 2 and All-Class fifth-ranked Dalton (9-1). The two behemoth programs met last year, with the Knights taking a thrilling 5-4 decision at The Dungeon.

The Commerce girls and Buford girls join the Johnson boys as teams sitting atop their classifications at the moment. The Lady Tigers (8-1) lead Class A Division 1, while the Lady Wolves (9-1) are atop Class 7A. 

The Lumpkin County girls (7-0-1) dropped from No. 1 down to second in Class 3A behind Oconee County. The Dawson County (9-0-1) girls are fourth, and the White County girls (8-4) are fifth in Class 3A as part of four Region 7-3A teams (Wesleyan, 7th) in the top 10 poll.

The Cherokee Bluff girls (10-1) are fourth in the Class 4A poll. Jefferson (4-1-1) is ninth, and Flowery Branch (8-1) is 10th in Class 5A.

The Union County boys (7-1) are third in Class 2A, while Region 8-4A dominates the boys Class 4A rankings. After Johnson, Chestatee (9-2) is ninth, and East Hall (7-2) is 10th. North Oconee (5-2) is sixth, making four 8-4A teams in the top 10.

A huge region matchup will have the Class 6A No. 8 Gainesville boys (8-2, 4-1 Region 8-6A) playing host to North Forsyth (6-5, 4-2 Region 8-6A) in a battle for second place. The Red Elephants beat the Raiders 3-1 in their first meeting of the season last month.

The Class 5A ninth-ranked Jefferson girls (4-1-1, 1-1 Region 8-5A) will play host to Eastside (3-4-2, 1-1 Region 8-5A) in a battle for second place as well.

(Check below for the full schedule of soccer matches on Friday.)

Friday, March 10

(All matches start at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)
Apalachee at Habersham Central, 6 p.m.*
East Hall at Walnut Grove*
Eastside at Jefferson*
George Walton at Commerce
Johnson at Dalton (boys only), 6:30 p.m.
Madison County at Chestatee*
North Forsyth at Gainesville*
North Hall at East Forsyth*
Pickens at Lumpkin County*
Shiloh at Jackson County*
Union County at Providence Christian, 5 p.m.*
West Hall at Gilmer*

(* -- denotes region contest)

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