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Statesboro holds off Raiders on Senior Night

    The Statesboro boys soccer team continued its charge toward the postseason, posting a 4-2 victory over Savannah Christian Friday night at Womack Field.
    The Blue Devils (10-2) fell into an early 1-0 hole, but quickly recovered and rolled to a non-region win.
    After wrapping up their sub-region championship two weeks ago and having a pair of games rained out last weekend, the Devils were just thankful to be back on the field against solid competition.
    “We definitely got a great game from Savannah Christian,” SHS coach Nick Thrower said. “They’re a solid team. That’s the sort of team that we need to be able to beat to advance in region or in state.”
    Statesboro controlled the early action, but it was the SCPS Raiders that struck first.
    Just over six minutes into the game, Aaron Osborne snuck past the SHS back line on a long pass and ripped a shot into the back of the net.
    Unphased, the Devils struck back just seven minutes later as Walker Paul Tedders finished off a possession full of slick passing.
    “That really got us back into it,” Thrower said. “We woke up and got going after that.”
    The teams stayed tied at 1-1 through the early minutes of the second half before sophomore Alex Wagner took over.
    Twice, Wagner wove his way through the Savannah Christian defense to find the net.
    The Raiders pulled within 3-2 at the 10-minute mark and Statesboro goalkeeper Drew Funk preserved the lead by deflecting a point-blank header just minutes later.
    Hector Angeles sealed the Blue Devil victory with just over two minutes to play as he ripped a goal from the left side of the goal box.
    Prior to the start of the game, Statesboro honored its 16 graduating seniors off of both the boys and girls squads.
    Degamarri Matthews, who had a standout season as a sophomore two years ago, missed all of his junior and senior seasons with knee injuries.
    Thanks to fellow senior Tedders, Matthews got to don the blue and white of Statesboro one more time.
    Tedders gave up his spot in the Senior Night lineup, allowing Matthews to get one final touch for the Devils to start the game.
    Matthews suited up and headed to the circle at midfield, passing the ball off for the opening kick. After the ball was sent out of play, Matthews walked off Womack Field for the final time, receiving high-fives and hugs on his way to the sideline.
    “I’m glad we were able to do that,” Thrower said. “(Matthews) has been a big part of this team. He worked hard at practice and on the field whenever he had the chance and has been cheering us on all season.”
    The Lady Devils weren’t quite as successful as the boys in Friday’s first game, falling 4-0 to Savannah Christian.
    Statesboro’s girls cap off their regular season Tuesday as they travel to Savannah Arts Academy. The SHS boys host Savannah Arts next Tuesday and both squads will begin the Region 3-AAAA tournament the following week.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.