The Richmond Hill boys’ soccer team fell 7-0 at Chattahoochee Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 6A state tournament. They finish the season at 16-3-2.
“We are a much better team than what the score showed,” Wildcats’ Coach Robbie Flanders said. “They are a really good team and match that with us not playing well and that’s the result sometimes. But the guys played hard and fought to the end and that says a lot about this team’s heart and character.”
Flanders pointed to his team’s youth as a reason to be excited about next season. Richmond Hill loses just one senior.
“We are very young and for this team to win the region championship with how tough this region is is a huge accomplishment,” he said. “Add on to that a quarterfinal appearance makes it an amazing season. With everyone coming back next year, we will expect to go farther.”
In their second-round win at home on May 3, the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 4-3 win over Apalachee.
Richmond Hill got its first goal of that game at the 23:50 mark of the first half from Agboade Sobowale on an assist by Michael Hoffman. Joseph Petrino made it 2-0 four minutes later when he scored on a breakaway.
Apalachee had several near misses early in the game, something Flanders said concerned him.
“They jumped on us early and we just weren’t matching their intensity,” he said. “Then we woke up and started playing harder and got two very good goals close together.”
Sobowale scored again less than a minute into the second half to give Richmond Hill a 3-0 lead when his shot from the left side hit the Apalachee keeper’s hands and rolled toward the net, just barely crossing the goal line.
Apalachee answered a minute later with its first goal and scored again with 23 minutes left in the game.
Logan Merry scored for a 4-2 Richmond Hill lead with 12 minutes to go on an assist from Bryant Jackson, although the Apalachee players and coaches contested it for several minutes, arguing that the ball entered the goal from the side and rolled under the netting.
“From my vantage point it looked like it went in and the ref called it a goal,” Flanders said.
Apalachee fans were so upset after the game that Richmond Hill coaches and administrators had to escort the referees out of Wildcat Stadium.
Apalachee got its final goal with about 10 minutes left, but a save by Richmond Hill keeper Drew Crawford with 15 seconds left sealed the outcome.
“They kept fighting, but our guys stayed calm and controlled the ball,” Flanders said. “That’s something we can learn from and build on.”