Friday May 24th, 2024 9:53AM

Boys playoff soccer: Johnson hangs on, Bluff ousted in Class 4A; Union rolls; GHS gets road win

By AccessWDUN Staff

OAKWOOD, Ga. — Stockbridge did not seem intimidated by two-time defending state champion Johnson on Friday in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Knights got two second half goals from Junior Castillo and several key saves from Benjamin Villatoro in a nail-biting 2-1 win at The Dungeon.

Johnson (15-1-1) could not find much rhythm in the first half as the match was scoreless at the break. But Castillo gave the Knights a 1-0 lead early in the second and it looked like they were ready to blow it open.

But the Tigers (9-4-1) tied the match midway through the second half. Johnson, however, reclaimed the lead when Castillo struck again with 15 minutes left off a beautiful pass from Edgar Vazquez.

Johnson Frank Zamora said finding ways to win in the playoffs is paramount for a group that is as reliant on an explosive offense as in years past.

“Finding a way to win close games helps us as we continue to gain experience and grind games out,” Zamora said. “At this stage in the season, it’s crucial to find a way to win especially in such tight games.”

Villatoro and the Knights defense clamped down from there as the Knights won their 11th consecutive postseason match.

Johnson next will play host to Druid Hills in the second round next Friday.


GAINESVILLE 3,
EAST PAULDING 0

The Red Elephants got their first postseason win since 2019 with an impressive road victory on Friday night in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

The last Gainesville win in the playoffs came against Cambridge in the semifinals of the Class 6A playoffs in 2019.

Gainesville (10-9) wasted little time as Miguel Galaviz, on an assist from Antonio Turcios, scored from 30 yards out in the opening minute.  Christian Perez Sesma scored 10 minutes later off a cross from Abraham Vasquez for a 2-0 lead and it stayed that way into the second half.

East Paulding (7-8-3) did not register a shot on goal in the first half.

The Red Elephants struck quickly again to open the second half as Perez netted his second goal of the match on another assist from Vasquez to make it 3-0.

However, the match turned chippy in the late minutes and a pair of Gainesville players were red carded after a skirmish started on the field before time ran out.

Gainesville will have a huge task in the Sweet 16, traveling to Class 6A and No. 1 nationally-ranked River Ridge (17-1) next Friday.


UNION COUNTY 6,
TOWERS 1

The Panthers, a semifinalist in 2023, opened their Class 2A playoffs with an impressive home win on Friday.

Antonio Solorio recorded a hat trick and Evan Bohms had two goals and two assists for an opportunistic Union County (9-2-3) offense. The Panthers led 3-0 at the half with a pair of Solorio goals sandwiched around a Bohms goal, assisted by Zuriel Mancillas.

Bohms, Solorio, and Mancillas each scored a goal in the second half as well as Union County led 6-0. Nick DePalma also had one assist for the Panthers.

Towers got its only goal late against the Union Couty reserves.

The Panthers next will travel to Region 7-2A champion Model in the second round. 


LOVETT 2,
CHEROKEE BLUFF 0

The Bears season came to an end on the road in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

The Bluff defense kept them in the game forcing a 0-0 tie at halftime. But the offensive chances were scarce for the Bears.

Lovett would eventually strike first early in the second half for a 1-0 lead. It stayed until late in the match.

The Bears (10-9-1) did have some chances but could not get the equalizer and the Lions were able to seal it with a late goal.

1st ROUND SOCCER PLAYOFFS SCOREBOARD, Friday, April 19
BOYS

CLASS 6A
Gainesville 3, East Paulding 0
Habersham Central 5, Douglas County 0
North Forsyth 6, Alexander 2

CLASS 4A
Lovett 2, Cherokee Bluff 0
Johnson 2, Stockbridge 1

CLASS 2A
East Jackson 11, Elite Scholars 0
Union County 6, Towers 1

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