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Soccer Bearcats finish with strong effort

Coach Jamie Ard’s Bainbridge High School boys’ soccer team completed their season with a strong effort Tuesday in Thomaston, Ga.

They dropped a hard-fought 4-1 decision to the Upson-Lee High School Knights in the first round of the Region 1-AAAA playoffs.

Ard, whose team finished 9-5 overall and 3-3 in Region 1-AAAA play during the regular season, said he thought the team had a pretty good season, considering that they returned only three starters from last season’s team that went 11-3.

Two of those starters did not even play in all the matches due to injuries, he said.

The Upson-Lee Knights got the scoring started early in Tuesday’s first round Region 1-AAAA playoff match, scoring on one-on-one opportunities in the ninth and 10th minutes to go up 2-0.

“On the first two goals, it appeared that Upson-Lee’s attacking players were offsides, which would have stopped play, but the official signaled to play on, which resulted in the one-on-one easy opportunities,” Ard said.

“Although I do not totally fault my players for stopping because of the appearance that the opposing players were offsides, we should have played until we heard the whistle, and that could have prevented the goals.”

Upson-Lee added another goal in the 36th minute, Ard said. “They again breached our back line of defense.”

In the 47th minute, Upson-Lee took advantage of one of the Bearcat defenders who cramped up and scored their final goal of the match, Ard said.

Hal Clement scored the Bearcats’ sole goal in the 57th minute. He controlled a ball played to the top of the penalty area and lofted a shot over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net.

Following the match, Ard had particular praise for his four seniors.

“We will miss seniors Donte Wilson, Juan Mejia, Phillipe Noriega and Jonathan Warren next season,” he said. “They really worked hard during their time as Bearcats and helped the program move in the right direction.

“Jonathan Warren played superbly in goal from late in the first half on through the rest of the match Tuesday in Thomaston.”