Though the Dawson County girls and boys soccer teams took a well-deserved break last week, the rest is something Head Coach Jed Lacey believes will only help as the teams move into the critical part of the season.
"I want them to get away from soccer and go to the beach and have fun," Lacey said about encouraging time away from the field. "I know when they come back they will focus and do what they have to do to get ready to finish the season strong."
Currently the Lady Tigers are ranked No. 3 in the state in Class AAA at 11-2 overall while the boys have garnered the No. 2 spot at 9-0-4 overall.
"Both teams are playing real well," Lacey said.
Despite the youth in the girls program, the team has put itself in position to make a significant run in state playoffs this year, according to Lacey.
"The girls are setting themselves up to make the deepest run we have ever made," he said.
If the girls are able to defeat Lumpkin County on April 14, they will lock up the No. 2 spot in Region 7-AAA which will help their seeding in the upcoming state playoffs.
"The girls' team I knew we would be good. There are some things we are still working on, but we are so close to being on point..."
"We need to find more consistency as a team," Lacey said. "We are finding out why over the past month we are starting so slow and then dominating second halves.
"I have done a lot of film study over the break on our team and I think with a few changes we can fix that problem."
The team's only losses this season came against Blessed Trinity and Greater Atlanta Christian.
Lacey's confidence in the both teams is high heading down the regular seasons stretch.
For the boys, a win against East Hall on senior night on April 18 would mean a region championship and that is something few but Lacey and his players were really expecting.
"No one saw that coming but us," he said. "Every year the coaches at the region meeting always put us down for coming in third in region this year," he said.
Beyond wrapping up a region championship, Lacey continues to believe that this boys' team is a state contender.
Their win over Greater Atlanta Christian on March 27 was one of a number of big steps in that direction, although that was also not a surprise to Lacey.
The Tigers defeated the Spartans 1-0 at home.
"Beating GAC was not a surprise to us," he said. "I knew we could play with them. Going to Savannah and playing and beating the teams we beat down there got us ready for them.
"I have great players. What was good about beating GAC was we finally beat a premiere private school in a big game that had a lot at stake, a region championship."
This was what was considered a rebuilding year on the guys side and yet, according to Lacey, the team as a whole continues to just get stronger.
"That is a credit to the players that play for me," he said.
One particular surprise this year was at goal keeper with Dillon Tierney.
"What he has done as our keeper this year was amazing," Lacey said. "Without him, we are not undefeated. He is a beast back there."
Though it is high praise for Tierney, once Lacey begins to talk about the strengths on the field, it is clear he sees it everywhere.
"I could mention everyone on the boys because they are all better than they were last year and my returning starters were really good. When you have Dennis Pyetsukh, Nathan Blythe, Cole Dennis and Nick Murphy up front attacking and then have the best center back in the state in Tim Moody manning the back third, you are a solid soccer team."
Tyler Glamuzina grew four inches since last year and his play has grown as well, Lacey said.
"Now his soccer skills are incredible," he said.
As the teams come back from their break, Lacey is excited about Dawson County soccer-maybe more than he usually is.
The team finally broke through and made the Top Drawer Soccer state rankings. The boys are No. 13 in the state of Georgia across classifications from 1A up to 7A.
"This state is loaded with great teams and they have ranked us 13th best team in the state," he said. "What an honor."
The teams will travel to Lumpkin County this week for the first of their three remaining regular season games.
The Lady Tigers play at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 in Dahlonega.