The Tattnall County men’s soccer team captured the 2022 region 1-AAA championship with a 8-0 shutout of Appling County on April 7 in the Badlands.
Warrior Junior Albert Ovalle earned the title of Player of the Game after scoring three goals. He has tied the school record for number of single season goals, which is at 22.
“I think I came out pretty strong last game. I had a couple of shots early in the game, but I unfortunately got hurt,” Ovalle said. “I have been icing my ankle this week, but there is no telling if I can play or not. I am trying my best to get back out there.”
Freshman Yajir Estrada added two goals, while Andrew Fermin, Santos Marquez, and Erik Estrada all scored one goal each. Marquez is a senior and has won the region championship before in 2019.
“Winning this year felt different because we were underestimated,” Marquez said. “We had a tough year last year, but we have made up for it this year.”
Tattnall completed the region schedule with a 7-1 mark. The lone loss was to rival Long County, who finished as the region runner-up team with a 6-2 mark.
The Warriors will host Groves on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs. The warriors are currently ranked second in the state class AAA, with a 14-1 overall mark this season.
The Warriors have made the state playoffs for five years, with the exception of the canceled 2019-2020 season. They made it to the elite eight round of the state tournament in 2017, 2018, and 2019. They only made it to the sweet sixteen round in 2021.
Senior Landon Hernandez hopes to finish the drill and bring home the state title. He understands that the team has good chances of winning the state championship but wants to make sure they focus on the little things and maintain a good mindset.
“I feel like this team is special,” Hernandez said. “We already reached our first goal — winning the region. Now, we are focusing on winning the state.”
Estrada, a junior, believes the team has a shot at winning the state. The amazing talent on the team and the guidance of Head Coach Dakota Tillman combined is sure to lead them to the end.
“I can’t tell what the future holds for us, but we have a shot if we keep putting in the work,” Estrada said. “Coach Tillman is a big fundamentals guy. He works hard and it shows at practice and at games.”
Sarah Smith contributed to this article.