GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – The Grovetown boys soccer team has already made school history. On Tuesday the Warriors hope to make more.
Grovetown (16-2) will travel to Marietta, Georgia to face Lassiter (16-2) in the Georgia Class-AAAAAA quarterfinals. The Trojans enter the game as the No. 5-ranked team the state. It is the first time Grovetown has advanced to the Elite Eight.
“They’re playing for the pride of this school, this community, the whole area,” said head coach Ryan Rood. “We’re the last team in our region to be in, so I’m just super proud of them.”
Grovetown, the Region 3-AAAAAA champion, is the last soccer team still playing from the Georgia part of the CSRA. South Carolina’s state playoffs have not yet begun.
“It’s really special to us, especially being our senior year,” said senior center back Braden Wintrode. “It really means a lot to us guys. We take a lot of pride in what we do and we’re really happy to be this far.”
“All of the boys are just eager to get this game on,” said senior goalkeeper Ethan Schomaker. “I know that this is something that we’ve all wanted since last year when we got sent home in the first round of the playoffs. This is a really big game for us and something we’ve been excited for since we knew we were going to make it here.”
Tuesday’s game continues a remarkable turnaround for a program that won just one game two years ago, and five last season.
“The leadership wasn’t really there and the positive attitude wasn’t really there,” senior center back Nasrudin “Nas” Mohamed said of the previous two seasons. “This year I feel like we came in optimistic. We think we’re going to do big things and we did big things.”
2022 has already provides some unforgettable moments for the Grovetown athletic program. In February, former Warrior D’Ante Smith won the AFC Championship and played in the Super Bowl as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. In March, the boys basketball team won the first state championship in school history. Coach Rood recently invited basketball coach Darren Douglas to address the soccer team.
“His message was ‘E’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘O’: Event, plus response, equals outcome, and that really helped carry us through this past game and get us the (win),” said Wintrode.
“With his words, he impacted us,” said senior striker Leo Rivera.
“That’s definitely inspiring to us,” said Schomaker. “It shows that any team with the kind of drive they had can make it as far as they want to. They definitely made it as far as they wanted to and I think we can go the same distance.”