Evan Courtney opened his senior season with a hat trick, and the Ridgeland Panthers opened the 2013 soccer campaign with a 6-3 home win over Dade County on Tuesday.

Fellow senior Blakely Epperson had two goals and senior Blake Pardon added one as Ridgeland led 4-0 at intermission.

"We took advantage of the through balls early and we were able to get behind them and put pressure on them," Ridgeland head coach Tim Sparks said. "Unfortunately we really resorted to that far too often. We worked off the ball with more purpose in the second half, which resulted in more possession and more quality chances."

The Panthers began to freely substitute midway through the second half. The Wolverines prevented the shutout by scoring three times in the final 15 minutes against the Panthers' reserves.

Ridgeland (1-0) will begin Region 7-AAAA play on Friday with a road match at Dalton.