Ramon Salamanca, from left, Bernabe Range, Zach Tibbs and Noel Pimentel run after the ball Wednesday during Southeast Whitfield High School's soccer match against North Hall High School in Dalton, Ga. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
DALTON, Ga. — The Southeast Whitfield soccer team appropriately has the nickname “Rage,” because they inflicted plenty of it Wednesday in their Class AAA state second-round playoff matchup against North Hall.
The third-ranked Raiders scored four times in the first half, ultimately going on to defeat the Trojans 5-1 to advance to an Elite Eight matchup to be played either Friday or Saturday at Southeast.
Coach Jamison Griffin was pleased with how the team started the match.
“We looked poised and ready coming out of the locker room,” he said. “We settled into the match, yet kept our intensity.”
Zeke Nunez got Southeast on the board early on a header from a Noel Pimentel throw-in, then about 10 minutes later, the score grew to 2-0 on a goal by Alex Rosillio, assisted by Nunez.
Pimentel had a score on a throw-in that went through the hands of North Hall keeper Jordon Schmidt, then freshman Diego Nunez made it a four-goal lead with a score on a free kick from near midfield.
Defensively, the Raiders locked down North Hall’s leading attackers, Tony Gonzalez and Dylan Martin, and watched as the Trojan wheels fell off as they were assessed with numerous yellow cards and a red card on Johnathon Bettencourt in the final moments.
Zach Tibbs had the Trojans’ lone goal on a nice header in the second half, while Chris Salises had Southeast’s final goal in the final seconds.
“Those guys [Gonzalez and Martin] can really control a game, so I thought we did a good job of staying with them,” Griffin said. “North Hall has a laid-back style, so we knew we had to be aggressive on our end.”
Southeast (19-1) will host either Veterans or Westover in the Final Eight round.