In front of a mass of away supporters, the Gordon Central Warriors cruised to an 11-1 win over the South Atlanta Hornets in the first round of the GHSA Class AA boys soccer state playoffs. The road win sends Gordon Central on to the second round, as the team now prepares to host Region 8’s No. 4 seed Union County on Thursday.
“That was an exciting game,” Gordon Central head coach Matt Wiley said. “Everybody moved in space well. We didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes and they kept their composure.”
Right out of the gates, Gordon Central’s offense created multiple opportunities, but struggled to convert. Finally, the first one fell as Jonny Rivas scored the opening goal of the match. He would quickly follow it up with his second moments later to extend the Warriors’ lead to 2-0.
“I tell them every time, ‘Just be patient, it’ll build. As long as you’re making the shots count, something will fall,’” Wiley said. “As soon as Jonny (Rivas) hit that first one, it fell hard and fast.”
From there, Gordon Central rolled. Rivas would pick up an assist on Fernando Rubio’s first tally of the game. After miscommunication in front of the Hornet net, Rubio cashed in again, making it 4-0.
Gordon Central’s offense was officially white hot as Angel Rubio and Charley Garcia both found the back of the net before the first 40 minutes were in the books. At halftime, the Warriors led 6-0.
“I’ve got a lot of depth,” Wiley said. “I changed out five guys (in the) middle of the game and even more goals started happening. I have a second and third line that can come out and make plays happen, that, for me, is the game changer.”
Gordon Central continued right were it left off in the second half. Early on, Brayan Rico places a high-arching shot over South Atlanta’s goalkeeper into the top right corner of the cage.
However, Gordon Central’s Edgar Ramirez dominated the second half. After South Atlanta got on the scoreboard, Ramirez recorded a natural hat trick.
Ramirez’s first goal came off a high shot from just outside the center of the attacking box. His second strike came on a low shot, traveling from right to left and the final tally came courtesy of locating loose change in front of the net.
With Gordon Central up 10-1 late in the second half, Jockson Padilla notched his first of the game off a free kick to seal the deal. The final score read 11-1 Warriors.
“We’ve never had a high-scoring playoff game like this I think ever,” Wiley said. “On top of that, everyone played. I have 29 guys. Every single guy played in the game for at least five minutes, which for me was special. I’m glad everybody got a touch.”
Gordon Central is off until Thursday, when the Warriors battle Union County at Ratner Stadium at 6 p.m. Last Friday, Union County defeated Region 5 No. 1 seed Lamar County 2-1 in Barnesville.
“We’re chasing history,” Wiley said. “For us, it’s not only about who we play, but it’s about how we play and getting past this next round. That’s the biggest hurdle for us because we haven’t done it.”