Saturday was soccer day for three local high schools, who all opened play in the NCHSAA state playoffs during the evening.
Surry Central and Mount Airy both kicked off their first-round matches at 4 p.m., and each came away with a victory and a trip to Tuesday’s second round. North Surry got under way two hours later, but saw the most successful boys’ soccer season in school history come to an end with a 4-0 loss to West Caldwell.
The Greyhounds, who ended their season 15-6-2, played a strong first half and were locked in a scoreless tie with the Southern District 7 runners-up at intermission, but seemed to wear down in the second half and couldn’t keep up with the speedy Warriors. North Surry did appear to have scored at one point in the second half, but the goal was waved off.
In any case, North was honored at the end of the match for its best season ever.
Meanwhile, over at Wallace Shelton Stadium, the Granite Bears improved to 16-6-1 by grinding down an overmatched Hayesville team. Mount Airy took a 1-0 lead two minutes in on a goal by Austin Tumbarello, led 4-1 at the break, and piled on six more scores in the second half before the referee called a halt to the match.
The Bears, who are seeded eighth in their sub-region, will visit top-seeded Blue Ridge Early College Academy in the second round on Tuesday. Blue Ridge (16-1-1), the champions of the Smoky Mountain 1A, beat River Mill Academy 4-2 in Saturday’s first round. The Bobcats played Hayesville twice this season, winning 7-4 and 4-1.
In Dobson, Central avenged last year’s first-round defeat at the hands of Lincolnton, but it was a hard-fought scrap that ended in a 2-1 victory for the Golden Eagles. Julio Sanchez scored with 4:22 remaining to lift Central to a come-from-behind win.
The Eagles (18-4-1) will visit Hendersonville (17-2-0) in the second round on Tuesday night.
See Tuesday’s issue of the News for a full report on all of these contests.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.