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Rockmart’s soccer program got their scrimmage in ahead of the end of January, and are now just about ready for the start of the 2020 season that is now fast approaching.

In games that don’t count on the record books against the Lady Jackets and Jackets, the pair of squads came away with losses against New Manchester with more chances to shine on the pitch ahead.

Rockmart’s girls took a 1-0 loss to the 6-6A team on the road, holding off the Lady Jaguars from scoring anymore on the year. Head Coach James Schroeder said he was “happy with the result.”

“But there is a lot to work on in the next few weeks before region play starts,” he added.

In the second scrimmage match of the day, New Manchester also took a win over Rockmart 5-1. The Jackets lone goal came off Carson Gable off a deflected shot put up by Lorenzo Panico.

“I felt like we played very well considering the step up in competition and that it was out first game on an artificial surface. We did some things very well and I was able to see some things we need to fix or tweak going into region matches on a few weeks,” boys head coach Chandler Gray said.

He added that his squad started a trio of freshmen and “they handled themselves well in their first varsity action. I felt we saw huge improvement in Carson (Gable) and in Amir Jarawala over what were some pretty solid games last season.”

Gray also praised the efforts of Jackets keeper Nathan Bonito, who he said “played his usual kamikaze style.”

“He made some saves that just broke the hearts of New Manchester players,” Gray said.

“Midfielder Armand Morin literally played endline to endline. I’d guess he runs 3 and a half miles in the course of a match. He’s the kid who will scrap with the opponent’s biggest guy or fastest guy and never back down.”

He also talked up Center Back Manuel Ramos, who is a senior as the 2020 season starts and leader on the back line.

“He played with a freshman and two sophomore and was the leader I always challenge him to be,” Gray said. “He played tough against some big school talent, but he’s never been scared his uniform dirty.”

Gray said that despite the loss, he got a chance to see his team work together on the pitch for the first time and places to improve as well.

“All in all, I got what I wanted. We got to play, to get knocked around, to get a chance to show who has made that step forward since 2019 season and to see what we have in some younger guys who maybe didn’t get a lot of grass time last year,” he said.

The two squads are back in action on Wednesday at Temple, then head to Chattooga on Friday. They’ll host their home opener against Haralson County on Feb. 11.

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