Patriots start first round of state today

CONYERS - The Heritage boys soccer team will face one of the top ranked teams in the state when the Patriots hit the field today in the first round of the Class AAAA state tournament.

The Patriots, who finished as the No. 4 seed in Region 8-AAAA, will take on the Lakeside-DeKalb Vikings, who finished as the No. 1 seed in Region 6-AAAA.

The Vikings have been ranked as high as No. 2 in the Class AAAA state poll.

"We're going to have to go out there and play 80 minutes of good soccer," Heritage boys coach Mike Beshiri said. "You never know, anybody can win any game. If Lakeside thinks they can just come out and roll over our guys, and we come out ready to play, we could come out on top."

As a No. 2 seed last season in the state tournament, the Patriots were successful in the first round, topping Woodland. The Patriots went on to lose to St. Pius in the second round of state.

This year, the Patriots will face the always-competitive Region 6 in the first round.

Still, Beshiri feels there is a silver lining.

"Lakeside-DeKalb, Marist, St. Pius and Tucker are all very good teams and they're all ranked in or around the top 10. Still, they've all beaten each other, so it doesn't appear that one team is head-and-shoulders above any of the other three," he said.

The Patriots and Vikings will do battle at 6:30 p.m. at Adams Stadium in Atlanta. The stadium is located off of Interstate 85 on North Druid Hills Road.

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

SideBar: If You Go

· What: Class AAAA State Soccer Tournament, first round

· Who: Heritage

Patriots vs. Lakeside-DeKalb Vikings

· When: 6:30 p.m. today

· Where: Adams Stadium, Atlanta