Two minutes after Dalton Academy defeated Drew Charter School 4-2 in the GHSA Class A public school soccer championship at Mercer University in Macon Tuesday night, the Pumas disdained their celebration to go through their normal post-game stretching regimen.
The exercise, however, didn't go its usual length. When a GHSA official brought out the championship trophy the usually-choreographed unit rose up as one and raced toward it, letting the emotion of earning a rare state title take over.
Dalton Academy (18-2) scored three first-half goals to take control of the game between Region 6-A foes to take home the championship in its first year of existence. Coach Rury Alvarez's team, a mix of players from around Whitfield County, dominated from the start to defeat a Drew Charter team that it was forced to go to penalty kicks to defeat in the regular season. Both of the Eagles' (12-2) losses this year were to Dalton Academy.
Adrian Gronados, the team's leading scorer, punched his 20th goal of the season into the net just over four minutes into the game and, less than two minutes later, the Eagles were caught off guard on a swift counter attack as Christian Cuna took a feed from Juan Hernandez Gomez to make it 2-0.
Captain Andy Reynoso made it a three-goal lead with 25 minutes left in the first half with a massive penalty kick just inside 40 yards out that found its way into the upper right side of the net for the half's third goal.
Drew Charter picked up the pace to start the second half but was turned away by an aggressive Dalton Academy back line. The Pumas, with an advantage off a counter attack, later made it 4-0 with 21:50 remaining on a Milver Carrillo goal, his sixth of the season.
Alvarez, with the four-goal lead, took his starters out with under six minutes to play, but had to re-insert them after Drew Charter scored a pair of goals in just over a minute.
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