Jags’ historic season comes to end in round of 16

On April 26, the Cedar Shoals boys soccer team played Northwest Whitfield in the second round of the Georgia High School Association state playoffs. Despite the loss, the Jags advanced the furthest they ever have in over 30 years. 

Prior to this round of 16 matchup, the Jags upset the No. 1 seed, Pace Academy, to secure the first playoff victory in recent history. 

“We made the playoffs out of the toughest and deepest region in the state, won a playoff game for the first time in several decades, against a No. 1 seed, and finished with an undefeated record at home for the first time in school history,” co-head coach Conor Naughton said. 

At halftime, the score was locked up 0-0. When the teams returned to the field, Northwest Whitfield immediately scored two goals. Even though the Jags were behind, they still believed they could make a comeback. 

“After they scored those two goals, the thought of our run ending entered my mind, but I still believed we could come back. Once we scored to make it 1-2, I believed we could do it because a goal always gives you that boost of energy to get the second one,” senior attacker Cesar Andrade-Ruiz said. 

After senior defender Luis Martinez scored the Jags’ first goal, two Jaguars received red cards, changing the game completely. Sophomore defender Hank Ruder received a red card after getting his second yellow card from two rough challenges. Shortly after, Martinez received a red card after an altercation with a Northwest player.

“Once we were down 2-1 and we lost two key players because of a very bad call by the ref, we all lost hope. We were playing for the pride of Cedar Shoals, so we tried not to concede as many goals as possible,” junior defender Kevin Soliz said.

During the last stages of the second half, Northwest Whitfield scored two more goals, making the score 1-4, and ending the Jags’ season. 

“I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until it was completely over. I always knew it could be my final high school game, but I never expected it to get robbed away from us. It still hurts, but I’d rather lose with my teammates than win with anyone else,” senior attacker Edgar Medrano-Ortiz said. 

Even though the Jags didn’t make it past the second round of playoffs they were able to help shift the narrative of Cedar Shoals and soccer in East Athens.

Katie Kulik

Freshman Katie Kulik is a new staff writer for Cedar BluePrints. After high school she wants to become involved in ministry and eventually become a youth pastor. She is currently involved in softball, swimming and tennis. Kulik’s favorite thing about journalism is being able to express herself.

Avatar photo