Published Saturday, March 02, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
First-year Newnan boys head soccer coach David Dement doesn’t like moral victories.
Still, Dement realizes his team battled its heart out Friday night at home before losing 1-0 for the first time this season to a No 4 state-ranked Peachtree Ridge team.
Playing on a chilly night where temperatures dipped to near freezing with the wind chill, the Lions scored the only goal of the game just four minutes into the non-region contest.
The goal came in somewhat controversial fashion as the Cougars knocked the ball into their own goal. Newnan appeared to hesitate just seconds before the score, believing the Lions were offsides. However play continued and after a mix up by the Cougar defense, the ball came to rest in the back of the net.
Newnan had several chances in both halves with senior striker Nick Pelerose around the ball for a majority of them. Pelerose, last spring’s Region 2-AAAAA Player of the Year, nearly scored at the 10-minute mark of the first half.
Less than two minutes later, Tyler Head had a golden opportunity to score just missing the mark.
Pelerose's second opportunity to put ball in the back of the net came right at the end of the first half.
“I don’t have one complaint,” Dement said. “From the beginning of the game to the end of the game, they played solid. We lost, but it was a great performance.”
Dement is hoping the team carries this over to the rest of the season.
“We have a chance to be a pretty good soccer team,” he said.
A Newnan graduate, Dement spent several years coaching soccer at Evans Middle School before landing the boys’ job while taking over the program’s reins from Scott Weidert.
“I played on this field, so I am excited to be coaching here,” he said.
Newnan falls to 3-1 heading into Tuesday’s region opener at Tri-Cities while the Lions improved to 4-0.
“I think a game like this just shows us we can compete,” he said.
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
The Cougars stayed on the attack in the second half, keeping the ball down at the Lions’ end of the field.
Newnan made a two late charges with shots on the Lions’ goal with under three minutes to go, but the team was unable to tie the game.
One of the biggest challenges heading into this season was find a replacement for goalkeeper Patrick McAlpin, who earned The Newnan Times-Herald first team honors last season.
Danquez Sinkfield showed Friday he had the potential to fill that role Friday night, stopping several shots that could have put the game out of reach. The Lions put the first shot of the second half right on goal, but Sinkfield timed it perfectly to help keep the Cougars within striking distance.
“He has only played two years, so for him to come in play this well, I am happy with his performance.
With Anthony Galvin and Heard back on defense, Dement is confident few shots will find their mark against the Cougars.
The Cougars next face a Tri-Cities team that is on a two-game winning streak. The Bulldogs last victory was a 3-0 decision over Charles Drew High School in Clayton County.
Lady Lions 2, Lady Cougars 0: After outscoring Shiloh and Westlake 15-0 in their first two games, the Lady Cougars (2-1) suffered their first loss of the season.
Peachtree Ridge (1-3) opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the game and then added a second score at the 8:32 mark of the first half.
Newnan opens its Region 3-AAAAAA schedule on Tuesday at Tri-Cities. The Lady Bulldogs enter the contest at 2-3.
In other soccer action Friday:
Starr’s Mill (girls) 3, East Coweta 2, OT: Lynnsey Danford scored twice off assists from Ren Waters as a Lady Indians lineup consisting of just one senior took the Lady Panthers, ranked third in Class AAAAA, into overtime before giving up the eventual game-winner.
East Coweta (Boys) 5, Starr’s Mill 2: Conner Antley netted a hat trick to go with goals from Justin Sharp and Ian Antley. Jairo Ruiz had two assists.