Athens entered Friday’s Florence Soccer Challenge undefeated and left Saturday afternoon with the same unblemished record and another trophy in tow.
AHS tied its first game of this season but won four more, including Saturday afternoon’s championship game against Westminster.
In that championship game, Athens grabbed a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes of the second half when Ramon Jurado slotted a pass through to Josh Bailey, who buried the chance. Jurado opened the scoring just eight minutes into the game to give Athens an early lead.
Westminster scored with 10 minutes left in the game, but was unable to find an equalizer against a solid Athens defense. Westminster advanced to the championship game after beating East Limestone in a penalty shootout in the semifinals.
Though 10 games, the Golden Eagles have allowed just three goals including one to Westminster.
“We’re playing very good defense,” said Athens head coach Ron Oakley. “We’ve only given up three goals in 10 matches. They are communicating really well. This is an experienced team, and that has helped.”
The disciplined Athens defense carried its stingy streak into the weekend’s tournament, posting shutouts in all three of its pool play games.
Christopher Gregory and Devin Hooie scored in a 2-0 win against Benjamin-Russell to open to the tournament. Gregory added two more goals in a 10-0 win over West Limestone in Friday’s other game.
Wynn Baker, Cole Schrimsher, Will Reaves, Wyatt Boyd, Robby Phraner, Hunter Brown, Charlie Holland and Jurado each scored goals in the win.
Athens tied Westminster 0-0 in the final pool play game Saturday morning before defeating Fort Payne 2-1 in the semifinals. Against the 2011 5A state champions, Jurado and Bailey were once again the difference.
“That was a game that could have gone either way,” said Oakley. “We were fortunate to beat a good team.”
Athens senior Hunter Brown was selected as the tournament MVP.
Athens will travel to Huntsville today for a non-region contest.
- Local News 2
East Limestone reduced to one player in rare forfeit
No one in East Limestone’s Gymnasium had seen anything like it before.
Athens and East Limestone varsity girls teams played a back-and-forth game that you would expect from any rivalry, but what happened in the final minutes made even the Iron Bowl finish look ordinary.
East was reduced four players in the final minutes of the fourth quarter after having its fourth player foul out Tuesday. Playing four versus five, East erased a six-point deficit in the final two minutes to force overtime.
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