Pair of local soccer teams prepare for opening round

Two local soccer teams will represent Rockdale County in first-round state tournament games starting next week.

The Heritage girls wrapped up the first region soccer title since 2005 with Tuesday’s win over Loganville. Forward Faith Shelton, just a sophomore, scored all four goals in the 4-2 victory, helping secure the fifth league crown in a program history that includes two state championships and six state finals appearances.

Heritage (13-4), which played a difficult schedule that included a pair of teams in Grayson and North Oconee who finished the regular season unbeaten and state power McIntosh, will host Region 6-AAAAA No. 4 Tucker April 30 at 6 p.m.

“First region championship since 2005, it was well-earned. We loaded up the schedule and we took some on the chin, they kept a positive attitude and kept their eye on the goal,” said Heritage coach Chad Suddeth. “I’m overwhelmed with joy and pride.”

The Heritage boys finished third in Region 8, though they lost just 1-0 to league champion Clarke Central and were in a scoreless tie with No. 2 seed Gainesville for 51 minutes before falling 3-0. The Patriots (12-5), who finished the regular season with an Austin Kulp (two goals)-led 5-2 win over Loganville, will travel to Region 6 runner-up North Atlanta April 29 at 7:30 p.m.