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Devils punch ticket to state with 7-0 win

Lady Blue Devils taking on Wayne
    Tentatively scheduled for Friday, the Statesboro Lady Blue Devils will face No. 1 seed Wayne County in the semifinals of the Region 3-AAAA tournament.
    With their 5-1 victory over No. 2 seed Glenn Hills on Tuesday, the Lady Devils earned a spot in the GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs.

    Statesboro battled hard throughout the regular season to earn a top seed in the Region 3-AAAA tournament and showed why they deserved to be the favorites, demolishing Cross Creek in a 7-0 blowout Wednesday afternoon at Womack Field.
    The Blue Devils (12-2) dominated the Razorbacks from the start and didn’t let up until the game was called with 20 minutes remaining in the second half.
    The Devils began their assault on the Razorback net just two minutes in as Wesley Budget launched a throw-in just a few yards in front of the Cross Creek net. Statesboro defender Owen Hancock leapt over the defense, heading a shot past goalkeeper Joseph Ramirez for a 1-0 lead.
    Just six minutes later the Devils struck again. Ramirez saved a shot by Alex Wagner, but the ball redirected to Pablo Martinez who easily found the back of the net.
    With 17:56 to play in the first half, Walker Paul Tedders teed up a free kick from 50 yards out, floating it over Ramirez for another strike.
    “I thought that we went out there and did what we had to,” Thrower said. “Getting a lead was big. From there, we just wanted to work on some things and stay sharp.”
    Hancock netted his second goal of the contest in similar fashion to his first.
    With just over five minutes to play in the first half, Budget again sent a long throw-in into the Cross Creek box. A header was parried by Ramirez, but Hancock was waiting, sending a left-footed strike into the top of the net.
    Statesboro dominated every facet of the contest, allowing the Razorbacks to possess the ball on the Devils’ side of midfield on just a few occasions.
    “I think everyone executed well offensively and defensively,” Thrower said. “There were times where it was tough to figure out what (Cross Creek) was doing, but we got things done.”
    If there was any doubt about the game’s outcome at halftime, the Devils wasted no time in putting the issue to bed.
    Emilio Quintero struck from close range three minutes into the half and Matt Samiratedu repeated the feat just two minutes later.
    With the game in hand, Statesboro emptied its bench, bringing reserves into the match and bringing up upperclassmen used to playing defensive roles.
    Senior defender George Hill capped the scoring for the night as he struck from 20 yards out with just under 10 minutes to play.
    With the win, Statesboro clinched a spot in the state playoffs. The Devils’ state seeding is still up for grabs and will be decided as they host either Wayne County or Hephzibah Friday night and then play in either the region championship or consolation game next week.
    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.