Pepperell boys soccer coach Jacob Camp has been wanting to see the Dragons get back into their midseason form that saw them shut out a tough region-winning Class 6A opponent in Alexander.
On Friday, in the second round of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs, Camp got what he wanted as his team rolled to a 4-0 victory over top-seeded Social Circle.
“If we play like we did tonight, the results will take care of themselves,” Camp said. “Not just this week, but for the rest of the season. We’re back in our midseason form. We definitely resembled that kind of play tonight and if we play like that then we can really do something special when everything settles.”
Pepperell, ranked as the No. 2 Class AA team in the state by Eurosportscoreboard.com, improved its record to 16-2-1 with the win and will now travel to face top-seeded Vidalia in the Elite Eight on Wednesday.
The Dragons took the lead midway through the first half when Lane Koch scored on a penalty kick, and kept that score into the second half until Will Helton put them team up 2-0 in the 46th minute.
Pepperell expanded its lead just four minutes later when a goal by Ramiro Alanis gave the Dragons a 3-0 lead over the Redskins.
The Dragons got their final goal when goalkeeper Andrew Wilder punted downfield and a Social Circle player tried to head the ball into play, but mistakenly sent the ball backward into his own goal with four minutes remaining.
Wilder had two saves on the day for a defense that has racked up 12 shutouts this season.
Friday’s win, which was Pepperell’s 13th straight victory, sends the Dragons to the Elite Eight for the third straight season.
The Dragons won 4-0 in the opening round, but Camp knew his team would have to step up their game going up against a tougher opponent.
“Basically, this is the standard we have held ourselves to,” Camp said. “We definitely played better. We had a better opponent and we had the same result. We just wore the other team out down and made them chase it from the opening whistle.”
Social Circle, the top-seeded team from Region 8-AA, ends its season with a 10-8-2 record.
The Rome High boys join Pepperell in the Elite Eight as the only other boys' team in the area still alive in the playoffs.
On Thursday, the Wolves upset their second straight opponent in the playoffs topping Clarkston 4-2 on the road. Rome will travel to face Whitewater on Wednesday in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
On the girls’ side of the bracket, the Model Lady Blue Devils, who defeated Oglethorpe County in the second round, will host a quarterfinal contest against Harlem on Tuesday.