Salem boys rally to win

CONYERS - The Salem boys rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit to beat Heritage 2-1 on Tuesday at Reid Memorial Stadium.

Heritage went up 1-0 early in the first half off a goal by Ross Sellers with 34:23 left on the clock.

Heritage had several other solid scoring chances in the first half, and without a couple of nice saves by goalkeeper Trent Carpenter, the deficit could have been much worse.

Salem also had its scoring chances in the first half. The Seminoles possessed the ball more than Heritage but had a hard time getting that last pass through the Heritage defense.

As a result, Heritage was able to generate scoring opportunities on counter attacks.

The second half was a different story, especially in the last 20 minutes.

Salem came out from the start and possessed the ball as it did in the first half, but with 18:05 left to play, the Seminoles finally broke through the last line of Heritage's defense.

Colin Easterbrook managed to be in the right place at the right time, banging a deflected shot past goalkeeper John Barnes and tying the game.

Five minutes later, Nate Pulliam was tackled in the box and Salem was awarded a penalty kick.

Blake Whitson connected on the PK and Salem had its first and only lead of the night with 13:47 left to play.

The last five minutes of the game, Salem went out in a blaze of glory, firing numerous shots and nearly breaking the game open.

Heritage never really had a chance in the final minutes as the Seminoles held on for the victory.

"The second half, I thought we possessed the field the whole time," Salem coach Sean DeWeese said. "The first half, we were trying to force the possession and make the impossible work. I thought we really let things develop more in the second half and we played our game.

"This is a group of kids that don't quit. They play to the finish and they never lay down. A one-goal deficit was just a reason for them to play even harder."

With the win, the Seminoles earned a No. 3 seed and will be on the road in the upcoming state tournament. The Seminoles will play the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AAAA. Heritage will also be on the road for the first round of state, having earned a No. 4 seed. The Patriots will play the No. 1 seed from 6-AAAA.

Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans @rockdalecitizen.com.