The Apalachee High School boys’ soccer team blanked visiting Lanier High School 1-0 on Friday, March 6, but then suffered their first region loss at Habersham Central, 3-1, on Tuesday, March 10.
Still, the Wildcats (6-5-1, 3-1 GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA) have emerged as a threat at the top of the standings.
“We have people who are playing through injuries,” Apalachee coach Chad Hooper said. “Even taking that into account, we cannot allow so many opportunities to get by us. We had chances to score several more goals (Friday). If we don’t take advantage of those opportunities, then Lanier is going to make us pay next time.”
Leading 1-0 at halftime against Lanier on Friday, AHS continued to play strong defense in the second 40 minutes. Goalkeeper Ronal Galindo helped lead the defensive effort for the Wildcats.
Galindo turned away a Longhorn attempt with 17:10 remaining and even held off several attempts by Lanier in the final minutes and seconds of the match.
Jorge Bazan put the lone goal of the match on the board for the Wildcats at the 27:11 mark of the first half.
The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to increase their lead with 27 minutes remaining when Lanier’s goal keeper left the net unattended. The scoring attempt was wide left, however.
The Wildcats were coming off region wins against Gainesville (1-0) and Dacula (5-1). Tuesday's loss snapped a four-match winning streak.
“Our offense has to improve,” Hooper said. “We can’t allow our defense to carry us to wins. Great defense will only carry you for so long. We had several chances tonight that we didn’t take advantage of.”
AHS will host region foe Winder-Barrow High School on Friday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m.