The Statesboro boys soccer team continued its dominant and deliberate march Friday night, defeating Brunswick by a count of 3-0 in the Region 3-AAAAA playoffs.
Alex Wagner recorded a hat trick for the Blue Devils (14-2-2) and Brunswick was never able to crack the SHS defense and mount a comeback attempt.
“These guys have been absolutely amazing this season,” SHS coach Nick Thrower said. ”In high school, it’s a big compliment to say that a team is consistent. We’ve been consistent in practice and in games. We’ve been consistent through whatever adversity we’ve had to face.”
In a region that is widely considered to be one of the deepest and most talented in Class AAAAA, Statesboro seems to be pulling away from its peers as the postseason progresses.
After dispatching Coffee earlier in the week, the Devils took dead aim at the Pirates (10-8).
Wagner broke through for the Devils midway into the first half as Justin White sent in a pass that pushed through the Brunswick defense and left Wagner with an easy finish. Shortly before halftime, Dillon Jones was again able to get a ball into Wagner who once more found the back of the net.
Statesboro’s defense continued to fend off Brunswick, even as the Pirates became more desperate and sent more men forward in the second half.
The Devils put the finishing touches on the contest with just under three minutes to play as a Devil forward was taken down in the box. Wagner lined up the ensuing penalty shot and easily slid it into the bottom right corner to seal Brunswick’s fate.
“We’ve had to go through a lot,” Thrower said. “We’ve played so much of our season on the road and while battling through injuries. I think we’re really starting to build some momentum.
“We don’t want to think farther ahead than our next game, but that also means that we can start thinking about winning another region championship now.”
The Devils had already secured their place in the Class AAAAA state playoffs with their win over Coffee earlier in the week. Friday’s triumph has earned Statesboro at least one home game to begin the state competition and a win in next week’s region championship will earn the Devils a top seed in the state tournament.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.