From Staff Reports
ATHENS - A season’s worth of championship dreams and aspirations came to a crashing end Friday as the No. 3 seed visiting Dunwoody Wildcats (12-4) fell versus No. 2 seed Clarke Central (13-4-2) 2-1 in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Friday’s contest was nip-and-tuck early with both teams fighting through stiff defensive fronts. Defender Tom Behrend made several key stops against a relentless Gladiator offense to keep it tied.
The Gladiators broke a scoreless tie with 12 minutes left in the first half. Clarke Central’s goal came on a ball lying in the box with a delayed clearance. Clarke Central would maintain a 1-0 heading into halftime.
Dunwoody came out strong in the second half and Fecundo Gurdi broke through with a nifty move in the box, forcing a Clarke Central defender to foul. Gurdi converted his penalty kick in the 66th minute, tying the game at 1-1.
The score remained tied until defender David Segura received a yellow card in the 75th minute on a shoulder foul just outside the box. Clarke Central scored on a direct kick slow and led 2-1, which eventually proved to be the game-winning goal.
Dunwoody’s first-round exit was a bitter pill to swallow for the entire team, especially for sophomore midfielder Wes Dixon. Dixon, who was sidelined with a season-ending injury in the Wildcats’ 2-0 win over Stephenson on April 14, made the trip to Athens on crutches to support his teammates, but helplessly watched as his squad was eliminated from the playoffs.
Bad weather on Wednesday postponed the playoff game between Dunwoody Wildcats and Clarke Central until Friday.
The boys’ loss comes just one day after the girls were knocked out of the playoffs following a 2-0 loss at Flowery Branch.
Clarke Central will host No. 4 seed South Forsyth on Wednesday, May 4 in the second round of the playoffs.