Fayette County News

Fayette County


Rivalry matches highlight week of soccer

Left, Zach Birkhead leaves a defender in his wake in Whitewater’s 5-0 win. Right, Tariah Miller of Fayette County battles for the ball. Miller scored a pair of goals in the Lady Tigers’ win. (Whitewater Photo by Christopher Dunn / Fayette County Photos by Adam Hagy)

Starr’s Mill girls, Whitewater boys claim rivalry wins

Tuesday night brought the renewal of one of the fiercest soccer rivalries around as Whitewater played host to Starr’s Mill. The Lady Panthers claimed a 4-0 victory in the opener, and the Wildcat boys won 5-0 in the nightcap.
Starr’s Mill wasted no time taking control of the girls’ match. Less than two minutes into the game, Ansley Peurifoy corralled a loose ball and put it past the keeper for a 1-0 lead. Just past the halfway point of the first half, Ashton Nowicki redirected a Dylan Patterson corner kick to pad the lead. Late in the half, they added a little insurance when Ashley Broderick headed home a long Lauren Yoss throw-in for a 3-0 advantage.
The start of the second half brought a bit more cushion as Riley Clark had her first attempt blocked, but she collected the rebound and beat the keeper for a goal for the final margin of 4-0.
“I thought we did pretty well. We were a little unlucky in the first half, we hit the crossbar or post a couple of times, but I thought our intensity level was fairly good,” said coach John Bowen. “We could’ve kept possession a little bit better, but Whitewater makes you work for it.”
The Lady Panthers ran their record to 9-0 with the win. They are ranked number two in AAAAA.

The Whitewater boys struck quickly, lighting the scoreboard just over a minute into their match. Jack Chenette notched the assist, setting up Nick Gallardo for the opening goal. The Cats kept up the pressure, Gallardo nearly scoring again less than a minute later, but missing just wide.
Whitewater added to their lead at the seven-minute mark, Jon Bloch launching a throw-in deep into the box where Ian Addison headed it into the goal.
Chenette and Gallardo both had near misses in the game’s first 20 minutes as Whitewater maintained in control. Starr’s Mill would have a tough time all night penetrating the tough Wildcat defense.
Whitewater took their 2-0 lead into halftime and only built on it after the break. Gallardo struck again, and both Kyle Robbins and Jacob Benson found the back of the net as they scored a commanding 5-0 victory.
“I was extremely pleased with the way we played against Starr’s Mill,” said Whitewater coach John Bernard. “What played the biggest part in our win was our ability to move the ball around the field very quickly and control the pace of the game. To do this, the boys have to work very hard off the ball making runs to get into space where the next pass is going to go.”
The victory runs the Wildcats’ record to 8-1 on the early season, good enough to be ranked third in AAAA.
“We are very happy with how the boys have been playing so far this year,” said Bernard. “This year, we are focused on the process rather than the results. We believe that playing as a team, playing our style of soccer, and putting in the hard work in practice and at games has led to our success so far. Each day we are striving to be our best and get better from the day before.”



Fayette County sweeps Sandy Creek on the road


by Russell Cooks

Fayette County went on the road Tuesday night and scored a sweep of their crosstown rivals from Sandy Creek. The Lady Tigers took the first game 5-2, and the boys won 2-0.
The Fayette County girls came out in full attack mode against Sandy Creek. The first 15 minutes of play was spent with the Lady Patriots in defense mode and the Lady Tigers scored early and often. Tariah Miller scored on a breakaway goal to open the scoring, and at the 34 minute mark it was Isabella Odutola connecting on a goal with an assist from Miller.
Sandy Creek was finally able to flip the field position and attack Fayette County when Analucia Yanar weaved the ball through a host of defenders to take an excellent shot on goal. However, at the last second, goal keeper Sydney Jones was able to tip it above the goal.
Keeper Ali Shiraef was able to keep Sandy Creek in the game by making several fantastic saves. The Lady Patriots stayed on the offensive end of the field and pressured the Lady Tigers, but Fayette would bend but not break.
At the 7:22 mark, it was Miller going coast-to-coast on a breakaway to make the score 3-0 Fayette. A few minutes later, it was Odutola scoring her second goal to give the Lady Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Junior Jakai McDaniel finally got the Lady Patriots on the scoreboard at the 3:55 mark on a successful penalty kick. At the half it was Fayette in front 4-1.
The second half was much more balanced than the first half. Sandy Creek got the action going early with a very aggressive attack and shot on goal by Sierra Thomas, but Jones was able to knock it way from the net at the last second.
Fayette made a tremendous rally with several players attacking the Sandy Creek goal at one time, but again, it was Shiraef making a heroic block.
At the 9:22 mark, it was McDaniel scoring again to cut the score to 4-2. Sandy Creek fans came alive as they felt the momentum shift and the Lady Patriots kept the pressure on the Lady Tigers. However, it continued to be a defensive battle as both keepers made multiple blocks and saves.
At the 5:22 mark, it was Melanie Mikoy of Fayette making the fifth and final goal to give the Lady Tigers a 5-2 win.
Fayette County head Jennifer Ross said, “We did a great job of coming out and taking advantage of our opportunities early. That was our strategy to attack them early and often. The girls gave it their all and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Lady Tigers moved to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in region play, while the Patriots dropped to 1-5-1 overall and 0-3 in region play.

The Fayette boys struck early and held on late in a 2-0 victory.
Ryan Patterson gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at the 37:50 mark when the Patriot keeper could not corral his shot.
Hugo Sanchez led the Patriots on the attack, but keeper Matt Sherry was able to block the shot.
First-year keeper Ameen Cooper redeemed himself several times during the night as he made a variety of excellent saves and blocks. Emanuel McMillan, Tariq Muhammad, and the rest of the Patriots kept constant pressure on the Tigers.
Sandy Creek went on several attacks, but each time the shot was blocked by Sherry or went over the goal.
Muhammad was able to block a shot and kick the ball to the Fayette County end of the field to offset a very intense rally by Fayette, keeping the score 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half, it was a defensive battle. It was Cooper making saves and blocking shots for the Patriots, and it was Sherry doing the same for the Tigers.
Chris Baker found the back of the net at the 36:14 mark on a breakaway goal to give Fayette a 2-0 lead.
Hugo Sanchez tried to answer for Sandy Creek, but his shot went wide of the goal. At the 28:10 mark, it was Baker again on a wide-open breakaway, but he missed to the left of the goal. The Sandy Creek faithful gave a sigh of relief, and the Fayette County faithful moaned.
Sanchez had a breakaway shot at the 23:45 mark, but he kicked it over the goal. A few minutes later, Fayette had a shot on goal that also was kicked over the goal.
Cooper had yet another fantastic save to keep Sandy Creek in the game. There were several exciting shots on goal by both teams, but they were all too wide, too high, or were blocked, sealing up the 2-0 Tiger win.
Fayette head coach Jeffrey Betwood said, “I was happy with the performance. It is always good to get a region win. We missed several opportunities. We must execute better on our scoring opportunities.”
Sandy Creek head coach Sylvia Reit said, “The boys are coming around nicely. They are getting better and better each game. Our boys team is brand new. All the starters graduated from last years team, and we had to start over from scratch.”
The win bumps Fayette’s record to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in region play, while the Patriots drop to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in region play.

By Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.