MABLETON – Whitefield Academy's boys soccer team finds itself on the verge of a second state championship in three years after defeating county rival Walker 5-0 in the Class A private-school state semifinals Wednesday.
Whitefield (17-3) scored two goals in the first half and three more in the second to claim the victory and secure a berth in the next Thursday's state final against Atlanta International. The game is set to take place either at McEachern's Walter Cantrell Stadium, or on the Mercer University campus in Macon.
“We’re very pleased with the way the game played, the way our guys came out,” Whitefield Academy coach Steve Hellier said. “I mean, they really worked hard. They came from the very beginning. We had to be prepared for (Walker), and we knew we couldn’t take them for granted. We knew it would be a tough game, but I’m just so proud of these guys and the effort they put out.”
The Wolfpack will try to reclaim the crown that they last won in 2017, when they defeated Walker 2-1 in the title match.
“It is so hard,” Hellier said. “These things are a blessing. They are a gift. It is so difficult to make it to the finals, even to the playoffs. Winning the games in the playoffs is so hard. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of effort, and there are other things that play into it. You cannot guarantee yourselves a win and we’re blessed to be able to win these games. We’re super thankful for the opportunity to make it to the playoffs and put it all out there.”
Jason Dinschel and John Johnson each scored two goals, while West Peterson added one. Goalkeeper Jack Krahel recorded the shutout to help lead the way for the Wolfpack.
It marked the third state playoff matchup in four years between the two rivals, with Walker (14-6) winning in the quarterfinals in 2016.
After several scoring attempts fell short early in the first half, Whitefield finally hit pay dirt and took a 1-0 lead when Dinschel scored from close range with 23:46 left.
Peterson was successful on his scoring attempt as he put the ball in the goal from close range with 11:20 to go in the first half to give the Wolfpack a 2-0 advantage.
After Dinschel scored his second goal of the game from close range with 30:44 remaining in the game to make it 3-0, Johnson went on to produce the final two scores of the contest.
He broke towards the goal and scored with 17:56 left to increase Whitefield’s advantage to 4-0, then he once again put the ball in the goal on a breakaway at the 16:02 mark to make it 5-0 and give the Wolfpack their final margin of victory.
“(Whitefield) is a good team,” Walker coach Lamar Howard said. “It’s just that simple. They’re a really good team. They have really good players who play really well together, and that’s going to be a recipe for the type of performance they put out (Wednesday).”