CONYERS - In a clash of county rivals, Heritage's soccer squads collected a sweep of Rockdale on Friday at Reid Memorial Stadium.
The Heritage girls kicked off the twin bill with a 3-0 win over the Lady Bulldogs, while the Heritage boys prevailed 5-0 in the nightcap.
Heritage 3, Rockdale 0
Heritage girls coach Chad Suddeth had a triumphant return to Reid Memorial Stadium as his Lady Patriots knocked off the Lady Bulldogs 3-0.
The game was tightly contested as the Heritage girls managed just a 1-0 lead at halftime, scoring off a goal by Nadia Bryan with 8:00 left until the break.
However, Megan Drish got loose in the Rockdale defense in the second half and padded the Lady Patriots lead with two second-half scores, making the final tally 3-0.
The victory moved the Lady Patriots to 10-1 on the season and 3-0 in region 8-AAAA South play.
Despite the win, Suddeth feels his team did not play up to its potential.
"I'm very disappointed in the way we played. That is not Heritage soccer," Suddeth said. "We're not the No. 10-ranked team in the state with that kind of play. I think we took a couple steps back tonight. Our shape was awful tonight and it seemed like we were trying to force the ball upfield instead of building the attack and playing together.
"The effort was there, I just feel like the girls came into this game with the wrong mind-set - and that is directly my fault. I think they saw how bad Salem beat Rockdale and they thought they could just show up tonight and win. I give Rockdale credit, they wanted it more than we did tonight."
Rockdale girls coach Patrick Batubenge said he was proud of the way his team competed.
"This was a rivalry game and the girls played like they had nothing to lose. They worked very hard and did a good job defensively of cutting off the passing lanes," Batubenge said. "I really feel like the girls left everything they had on the field."
Heritage 5, Rockdale 0
A four-goal first half was the difference in the boys' game as the Patriots built a sizable lead against their county counterparts.
Tyler Peoples tacked on the first two goals of the first half to put the Patriots up early.
John Hiner's direct kick into the top left corner of the goal made it 3-0 and Ross Sellers capped the first half scoring with a goal in the final 2 minutes of the half.
The scoring slowed down considerably in the second half.
Heritage did manage to add another goal with 8:27 left in the game after Corey Rodgers found Muhammed Umrani for the score.
Heritage boys coach Mike Beshiri said his team executed the game plan well.
"They looked real good tonight. I talked to them yesterday about where we need to be at this point in the season and in subregion play. I think they picked it up a little bit tonight and now we're exactly where we need to be," Beshiri said. "The guys kept their cool throughout the game. It was just an excellent game and a good win."
The Heritage boys play again Monday at Clarkston.
Meanwhile, Rockdale boys coach Brian Travis said the game was a case of missed of opportunities for his team.
"It seems like when it rains it pours. That's been our season," Travis said. "It was a similar situation in the Salem game. Tonight, I thought we came out and knocked the ball around well. We played with them for about 25-35 minutes. Then, they started to get some of the momentum and played more physical. We're not very deep right now and it's tough to compete at this level with only 11 or 12 players."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.