One last game.
That’s all that stands between the Armuchee Lady Indians and ultimate glory as the team prepares for the GHSA Class A-Public State Championship against the Atlanta Classical Academy Lady Cavaliers on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Five Star Stadium on the campus of Mercer University in Macon.
This will be Armuchee’s first-ever trip to a girls soccer state title game. And it comes against a regional opponent.
“Coach (Garrett) Holt at Atlanta Classical and I have kept in touch through the playoffs,” Lady Indians head coach Don Bettler said in an emailed statement. “(We) both take a bit of pride that the top two teams from our region are in the final. A nice bragging right to end the year on.”
Nearly four weeks ago, Armuchee and Atlanta Classical faced each other in the regular-season finale in Atlanta. The stakes of that contest were monumental.
The winner would take Region 6-A Public, a No. 1 seed and a first-round bye into the state playoffs. The loser would finish as region runner-up and clinch a No. 2 seed.
On a cloudy Friday afternoon during rush-hour traffic, Armuchee sophomore Malone Christen scored both goals during the Lady Indians’ 2-1 overtime road triumph to capture their first-ever region title.
That match was in the midst of what is now a 10-game win streak, stretching back to March 12.
As a No. 1 seed, the Lady Indians had the good fortune of hosting every playoff game to date. The wins include Social Circle in the second round (3-2 OT), Atkinson County in the quarterfinals (5-0) and, most recently, a 4-2 victory Monday over ACE Charter in the semifinals.
“Each game of the playoffs has seen our crowd grow,” Bettler said. “At the last game against ACE, when the clock got to the last 30 seconds, the crowd roared. It was just a solid wall of sound until they counted down the last 10 seconds. I have never seen that at one of our games before.”
Bettler added that a boost of crowd support for the team will be present in Middle Georgia.
“We are sending a bus for student fans on Friday,” Bettler said. “A bus of over 40 students is going to travel three hours to cheer on a girls soccer team. That I have seen this kind of support while I am still a coach is one of the proudest moments of my coaching career.”
The rematch is on the horizon. The stage is set. Now all that’s left is to crown a champion.
If the first match between these two teams was any indication, the audience is in for one amazing sequel and finish to the 2021 Class A-Public girls soccer season.
Tickets for Armuchee vs. Atlanta Classical can only be purchased online at gofan.co/app/school/GHSA for $12 each.