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Heritage soccer teams split with Clarke Central

— The region schedule has begun, but the dominance hasn’t changed one bit for the Heritage girl’s soccer team. Faith Shelton scored four goals and six others added a goal as the Patriots opened Region 8-AAAAA play with a 10-0 victory over Clarke Central.

Heritage is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents 36-0. Meanwhile, the visitors from Athens have been outscored 28-0 in dropping their first four games of the season.

“We’re taking care of business so that’s good,” said Heritage coach Chad Suddeth. “First of all, although we have played inferior competition, we still have got great ball movement, which is a result of a high work rate off the ball. So, I’m real proud of that.”

Shelton continued her early-season barrage, scoring all her goals in the first half, including her 12th of the season right before halftime. Freshman Sarah Boggus added her seventh of the year, Haley Elliot had a goal and an assist and Kaley Wells, who had six goals through the first three games, contributed three assists Friday.

“Nice to see so many girls get involved in the attack and bury such a large majority of our scoring opportunities,” said Suddeth.

While junior keeper Mady Carter is away for the weekend playing for the Georgia youth soccer team in the Olympic Development Program National Championship at the FC Dallas Stadium Complex in Frisco, Texas, fellow junior Kari Haner got the start Friday. Haner made two saves and picked up her first career shut out.

“She’s kind of stuck behind an elite keeper, but she shows up every day and works her rear end off,” Suddeth said of Haner. “She’s kind of biding her time and this was a moment for her tonight.”

Things didn’t go as well for the hosts in the nightcap as Clarke Central came from behind to win, 2-1 in the boy’s region opener. It reversed a trend for the visiting Gladiators, who had lost three consecutive one-goal games to start the season. Despite taking a 1-0 first-half lead on a goal by Harrison Kulp, Heritage (3-1) was held scoreless the rest of the way. Five minutes after Kulp’s goal, Clarke Central tied it on a free kick, and 10 minutes later took the lead for good.

“We had the first goal and then we just let off the gas,” said Heritage coach Brandon Stewart. “Probably had 15 chances (in the second half), we just couldn’t get a goal. We got that goal, and we just let them back in it."

The Heritage soccer teams continue Region 8-AAAAA play when they host Winder-Barrow Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

“We’ll be tested next week and I'm anxious to see if my girls are up for the challenge,” Suddeth said.

“Hopefully (Friday’s loss will) serve as an early season wake up call,” Stewart said. “We got a loaded squad but you still got to show up and take care of business.”