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Heritage boys soccer ends first round slump

DOUGLASVILLE - The Heritage boy’s soccer team is finally over the first round hump. Andre Deas and Jeffrey Lawson scored two goals each and the No. 3 seed Patriots went on the road and defeated Region 3 runner-up South Paulding, 4-2 in the opening round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.

Heritage (14-3-2) snapped a five-year losing streak in the first round and won a state tournament game for the first time since April 25, 2007.

The Patriots will travel to Region 6 champion Lakeside-DeKalb in next week’s round of 16.

“Massive to finally get (the) first round monkey off (our) back,” said Brandon Stewart, in his seventh season as Heritage’s head coach.

Heritage took the lead for good eight minutes in on a goal by Lawson, which was also the program’s first goal scored in regulation since that 2007 victory over Woodland. Deas later made it 2-0.

South Paulding (8-9) cut the deficit to 2-1, but Grant Crain fed Lawson for his second goal to send the Patriots into halftime up 3-1.

It was 3-2 after the hosts scored on a penalty kick, and soon the Patriots’ Juan Villeanueva picked up two yellow cards, resulting in a red card ejection. The visitors were a man down, but Deas scored any way to make it 4-2.

“Not happy with our lack of composure,” said Stewart. “Have to be more composed to continue advancing, but we'll sort through that at training.”

Heritage will be trying to avenge a 2-0 loss to Lakeside-DeKalb in the first round in 2011.