DALTON, Ga. - In the eyes of the Dalton High School soccer team, it's easy to play when you're ahead. The Catamounts have a knack of scoring more quickly than their opponents.
The Georgia Class AAAA top-ranked Catamounts scored a goal less than a minute into their Region 7 title match against fourth-ranked rival Northwest Whitfield. They added two goals and were able to claim their first region title since 2010 with a 3-1 win over the Bruins.
Dalton (17-0) has outscored its opponents 100-7 this season.
"We start putting pressure on our opponents from the first to the last whistle -- from beginning to end," Dalton's Eder Mora said. "We're not worried about being a target; we're just taking things day by day."
The first goal came 54 seconds in, with Mora assisting Andres Barragan. Dalton added to that in the 10th minute when a miscommunication between a Northwest defender and the goalkeeper led to a goal. Ramiro Huitanda was credited with the score.
"We had a lot of close chances. We created some chances with good hustle," Catamounts coach Matt Cheaves said. "Northwest put a lot of pressure on us, but I thought our defense played well.
"We had some mistakes that put us on our heels."
The Bruins (13-5) cut the lead in half in the 27th minute on Giovanni Aguero's 12th goal of the season. Northwest outshot Dalton 14-12.
"We played quality soccer," Bruins coach Ryan Scoggins said. "We played hard and did a good job of building the attack. We had chances."
Dalton added a goal in the 43rd minute by Alan Pantaleon.
• Heritage claimed the Region 7-AAAA girls' championship with a 3-0 win over River Ridge. The second-ranked Lady Generals (17-0) received two goals from Blair Harden and the third from Courtney Bell for their second consecutive title.
They also limited the opportunities of Kennesaw State signee Shannon Driscoll -- a big key, according to coach Stacy Dunfee.
"We started slow, but we finished well," she said. "Once we started playing to feet and making runs, we dominated the play."