DALTON, Ga. — Dalton High School soccer coach Matt Cheaves issued a challenge to his players before their Class AAAA state quarterfinal match against fourth-ranked Perry. Earlier in the day, he had read comments on a Georgia high school message board from a Perry parent stating that the top-ranked Catamounts weren't all that impressive.
It'll be interesting to see what is said this morning.
Manny Solis scored three goals in leading the Catamounts to a 10-0 victory Thursday night at Harmon Field. It was a true decimation of their opponent, as Dalton (20-0-1) got in the heads of the Panthers. The visitors were called for three fouls in the box leading to Dalton penalty kicks -- all of which the Catamounts converted.
The Catamounts, who are 42-0-1 since the beginning of the 2013 season, will host either Spalding or LaGrange in the semifinals Tuesday.
"You try not to read that stuff, but sometimes you hear about it and it gets under your skin," Cheaves said. "We used it as extra incentive. We had a fast start and our pressure wore their defense out as the match wore on."
Solis scored in the sixth and 16th minutes, Eder Mora scored in the 11th and Kobe Perez netted a penalty kick in the 25th minute for a 4-0 edge.
The Catamounts continued to pour it on in the second half, as Kiko Rodriguez scored a minute into the half on a header assisted by Javier Rodriguez. Solis then slotted a perfect pass to Isai Hernandez, who made it 6-0. Jose Gardea scored, then Solis completed his hat trick and Josh Satterfield nailed a penalty kick.
Antonio Martinez helped Dalton invoke the mercy rule when he drilled a shot from about 30 feet out with about five minutes left to play.
"I thought we followed our plan well," Cheaves said. "We just wanted to play soccer."
Perry keeper Bonner Brooks had nine saves for the Panthers (16-4), who were limited in their opportunities on their attacking half of the field and finished with two shots -- neither on goal.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.