The Jefferson High School boys’ soccer team watched its state playoff chances weaken this past week, with losses to 8-AA opponents Social Circle on Friday, March 22 and Riverside on Tuesday.
The dogged contest against Social Circle started the Dragons’ decline, with the Redskins beating JHS, 4-3.
The match was extremely physical, coaches said, and resulted in two red cards, five or more yellow cards and two concussions.
Several injured Jefferson starters were sidelined against Riverside (4-6-1, 4-1) Tuesday as a result of the game last week.
“It was a very even game and a very physical game. It was beyond physical actually,” JHS coach Sean Malone said of the Social Circle match. “My team played well, did the best we could under the circumstances…they were able to pull one out in the end.”
Down 2-0 in the first half, JHS climbed back by scoring three straight points to take the lead over Social Circle after the midway break.
Jefferson’s Dakota Thompson twice scored, once in the 45th minute and again in the 76th minute to take the lead. Richard Mendoza also added a goal at the 50th-minute.
But Social Circle came back to tie and then moved ahead of JHS within the last five minutes of play.
Malone said that Mason Porras and Mendoza, in particular, played exceptionally for JHS.
“We played really well in the second half,” Malone said. “We played our game in the second half. If we would’ve played our game in both halves, we would’ve dominated. But we got caught up in what they were doing… (that was) send the ball big, chase it down and score, and be very, very physical, almost fist fight type physical.”
Jefferson’s record is now 3-5-1 overall and 2-3 in the region, with Union and Rabun county high schools left to play after JHS’ spring break.
Those teams are sitting in first and third place in the region, respectively, with Riverside at no. 2.
What that means is the Dragons will have to win both its remaining contests to have a remote shot at advancing to the state playoffs. The team is now tied for fifth in the standings.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Jefferson entered the Social Circle game with a good deal of momentum, having downed the Class AAAAA Winder-Barrow High School, 4-3, on March 20.
In that contest, Taylor Hitt scored two goals, with Rodney Cain and Mason Porras adding goals. (Porras’ shot in the 76th minute was the game winner.)
Other standout players in that match were Dakota Thompson and Diego Tello, Malone said.
“That was another back-and -forth game,” Malone said. “We were down by two points, came back out, scored three points and were able to hold on and win that one. That was a really good confidence game for us.”