Union County routs Chattco 10-1 in first playoff game
May 8, 2013
By Nathan Deen
FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 8, 2013) -- When it rained, it poured, and just about everything that could go wrong did Friday for the Chattahoochee County High School boys soccer team in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs against Union County (Blairsville, Ga.).
The team's first playoff appearance in school history, though a significant accomplishment, was a forgettable affair as Union County routed Chattco 10-1 in rainy conditions.
Head coach Jon Griffin said his team simply had no idea of what to expect going into the game.
"We didn't know anything about the team and nothing about the region they play in," Griffin said. "After the first goal, we were like 'Uh-oh.' We've never been a come-from-behind team."
That first goal came less than two minutes into the game as T.J. Smith rocketed a shot into the net from about 20 yards out. Nine minutes in, Union County led 3-0. It was that kind of day.
Griffin said the bulk of his team is still young and inexperienced and were not prepared for the physical toughness Union County brought to the table. The playoff atmosphere was totally new to them, he said, and the team only had 12 players available for the game.
"It seemed like to me that we got into a bee's nest with physical play," he said.
"When you only have one sub and your guys are getting outplayed … fatigue sets in."
The weather also seemed to plague Chattco throughout the game, as the Panthers struggled to control the ball, pass and kick it downfield.
"We had not played in the rain all year and (Union County) had played two games in the snow," Griffin said. "I think my kids had a hard time with it. The ball would almost slip off our foot and (Union County) would have better contact."
On the positive side, Griffin said making it to the playoffs was a tremendous step in the right direction for the program. The Panthers could have won their region outright had it not been for a sudden death loss to Spencer. They entered the playoffs as a two-seed.
"There is some success you can accomplish here at Chattco," he said. "I felt like we were competitive all year. We were not shutout all year."