Heading into their Region 3-AAAA playoff against Hephzibah on Tuesday, the Statesboro boys needed to find some offense in the worst way.
The Blue Devils hadn’t scored a goal in six games spanning 32 days and needed to win in order to claim a spot in the state playoffs.
Junior striker Hector Angeles — and just about everyone else — rose to the occasion, unleashing an eight-goal barrage in a shutout win.
“I guess we got things going just in time,” Angeles said. “We knew that we had to score. Statesboro hasn’t been to the state playoffs in a few years and we really wanted to be the team that got us back there.”
Angeles was one of six different Blue Devils to notch a goal and put the previous month of offensive shortcomings to bed.
“I think that once we got the first goal, everyone calmed down,” Angeles said. “We had been playing well, but we just weren’t scoring. It was getting pretty frustrating, but when we got that first goal, it seemed like we all went back to playing loose like we were earlier in the season.”
The state playoffs are marked on the calendar, but Statesboro is still alive in the region tournament. The Devils travel to Augusta today to take on the Academy of Richmond County in the region semifinals.
The Lady Blue Devils of Statesboro hadn’t made the state playoff field since senior defender Kristen Reichard’s freshman season, but she wasn’t about to end her career without taking another crack at the postseason.
Reichard played her usual strong role on defense before moving up late in the game and scoring a goal in Statesboro’s 10-0 win over Cross Creek on Tuesday. The win clinched a berth in the state playoffs for the Devils for the second time in four seasons and also marked a first for Reichard.
“I don’t think we’ve ever mercy-ruled a team since I’ve been here,” Reichard said. “I think that we came into the game really excited and focused. We were confident that we could win and just played a really good game.”
Tuesday’s win marked the eighth shutout of the season for Statesboro, thanks in large part to Reichard directing the Devils’ back line.
Statesboro continues play in the region tournament at the Academy of Richmond County today, but Reichard and her teammates can rest assured that they’ll have the chance to play for a state championship beginning next week.