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STATE SOCCER: Eastside boys blank Thomson to join Lady Eagles in Sweet 16
Eastside Boys Soc
Members of the Eastside boys soccer team celebrate after a goal in the Eagles' 7-0 state playoffs win over Thomson. - photo by Tyler Williams

COVINGTON, Ga. — Just 24 hours after the Eastside Lady Eagles soccer team punched their ticket to the Class AAAA Sweet 16, the men’s team would follow suit. 

Thomson was no match for the Eagles as their aggressive play kept the Bulldogs out of the game on both sides of the ball, leading to a 7-0 final tally Friday night at Sharp Stadium. 

Despite taking control on both sides of the ball, head coach Champ Young was impressed with another part of the overall performance. 

“I was more pleased with just how they played,” he said. “They played hard and they worked for each other. To me, the goals are going to come. Just working for each other and being selfless is something we preached all year, and we finally are getting to it here in the end.”

Team selflessness was on full display early on in Friday’s match. In the first two minutes of the game, Jackson Jolley hit Kade Mote on a long cross to set up his first of two goals in the half. 

Mote also made note of how well the team unselfishly gels together and why they do. 

“We don’t have a selfish team by any means,” he said. “We have all grown up playing soccer together, and now we’re just a little bit older and playing as one big family.”

Jackson Jolley
Eastside's Jackson Jolley is one of several Eastside seniors and one of 20 area athletes to make an all-region roster. - File Photo

Not long after his assist, Jolley got his own goal off a pass from Liam McGiboney, and the rout was on. 

Goals from Christian Goerner, Zach Glover and Kevin Manley put the Eagles up 6-0 as the half closed out. 

The commanding lead allowed Young to get playing time in for younger guys on the team —  something the coach was excited about.

“We got a lot of kids some playing time tonight,” he said. “We are letting everybody play that’s worked really hard all year, and they played their butts off and didn’t give up a goal either, so I’m proud of them too.”

As the younger players excelled defensively, they were also able to add a goal of their own when Caden Coggins drilled a ball into the corner to provide the game’s final tally.

As the Eagles advance, they will now travel to No. 7 Upson-Lee (18-2, 11-1 in Region 2-AAAA) on Wednesday May 2 in a matchup that Young is still confident about. 

“I like our odds in the next round,” he said. “Hopefully were not done after next week. If we take care of ourselves like we did in this first half, we should be fine. If we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll come out with a win” 

But Young also knows that it’s going to take more work in order to push past a tough Knights team. 

“We just need to put away chances,” he said. “We’re at the point now where were kind of fine tuning, but other than that, we played pretty well.” 

For Mote and company, they knew that getting a dominating win was key to keeping themselves healthy and fresh for the next game, but he knows there’s more to work on to get prepared for a tough second round road matchup. 

“Like I said, we are one big family, so we joke around a lot,” he said. “We need to focus and watch film as a whole and talk about the things we need to work on.”