Dawson County boys' soccer moved past the Rutland Hurricanes last night to face Oconee County in the Elite Eight of the GHSA state playoffs.
The Tigers won 6-2 and are now 17-2-1 overall.
"I love y'all," Coach Jed Lacey told the team before they took the field on Tuesday night. He then spent the next 80 minutes yelling for the boys to play the way they know how to.
The first half was predominantly a defensive battle.
Dennis Pyetsukh and Nathan Blythe took back-to-back solid shots on goal but could not get anything in the net.
With 7:54 left until the half, Patrick Moody got a pass to Blythe who put the Tigers on the board.
That would be the only goal of the first period.
The Tigers came out of half fired up offensively. Less than two minutes in, Pyetsukh scored.
The Hurricanes almost immediately answered with their own goal to make it 2-1.
At the other end Blythe had a nice cross to Cole Dennis but the shot went long.
Senior Alan Sanchez was relegated to coaching from the sidelines after receiving a red card in last week's contest. He also sustained an injury over the weekend that may keep him out of tournament play regardless of whether or not the team makes it to the final four when he would have been able to return.
Rutland took a shot on goal, but senior goalkeeper Ty Anglin made a diving save to prevent the Hurricanes from tying it up almost midway through the second half.
With 26:58 to go Pyetsukh put another one in only to get knocked flat with no call from the ref. He had to leave the field for help from the trainer, but returned a couple minutes later to complete the hat trick and put the Tigers up 4-1.
Rutland's only other goal came out of a scuffle in the box where Anglin appeared to get pushed around.
After that it looked as though the wind had gone out of the Hurricanes' attack.
Dennis scored for the Tigers on a beautiful pass from Pyetsukh and the Tigers would add again to their lead on a Moody cross to Sam Hoppal who put it in on a header.
With less than three minutes to play and the 6-2 lead, the mood lightened on the sideline and Lacey began subbing more players.
The Oconee County Warriors also advanced to the quarterfinals after a shootout in a 1-1 game against Westminster. Oconee is 12-5.
The Tigers and Warriors will meet at 7:30 Friday night at Oconee County High School in Watkinsville.