BOONVILLE – Starmount moved on to the second round of the 1A Men’s Soccer State Championship Thursday with a 6-1 win, but it took a strong second half to blow it wide open late.
Junior Jeyson Pineda scored a hat trick for the second-straight game as the Rams scored four goals in the second half to beat Atkins 6-1. With the goals, Pineda broke the school record for most goals in a season with 38, but while he’s happy about the record, there’s business to tend to Saturday against Pine Lake Prep.
“I feel very happy about moving to the second round. That’s the team objective. It feels good because we’re in the fight. I’m happy about the goals but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Pineda said.
Also shy of breaking a school record is junior Salomon Maya. However, Maya was injured in the final game of the regular season against East Wilkes and did not play. It took some adjustments to get things going, but once things started clicking, Rams Fútbol was hard to stop.
“I think it took a while, and… on the sidelines it seemed like it took forever,” Head Coach Edgar Zamora said. “Losing Salo for a game or two is not anything that’s easy, but they ended up picking it up.”
Senior co-captain Vicente Adame picked the perfect timing to score his first goal off of a free kick this season. After the Atkins keeper played the ball outside of the box, it gave Adame the chance to get the offense rolling.
“I’ve been practicing these past couple of weeks, I was wondering if it’d be the right time and it was tonight,” Adame said.
A few minutes later, Juan Mora’s high-lob pass created a three-man race between Pineda, his defender, and the keeper crashing in. As Pineda won the ball, the keeper crashed in too late as Pineda got his first goal of the night to make it 2-0 at the half.
As the second half started, Atkins made some adjustments that had Starmount on edge, and were able to convert on a misplay in the attacking zone to make it 2-1.
The Rams had to find a way to get back to their offensive attack, and it was Pineda again who beat a defender to put them up 3-1. Ten minutes later, they ran a very similar play, and as the Rams offense was crashing into the box, Pineda kicked it so senior co-captain Erick Teodoro for the goal, and by then, the flood gates had opened.
Earning some high praise, and deservedly so, were freshmen Kaleb Dickerson and Colby Macemore. Dickerson earned a starting spot for the night, and Macemore made a great throw-in to Dickerson for the sixth and final goal of the night. Dickerson was a key player in creating the third goal, as it looked like the attacker had him beat at midfield, but Dickerson forced the turnover that led to Teodoro’s goal.
“I had to fight for it, so I just never gave up, and kept going,” Dickerson said. “Me and Colby just click together on the field.”
“Kaleb and Colby… they’re all grit and hard work, and add to that the technique polishing that we’ve done, how hard they work in practice, the sky’s the limit for the both of them,” Zamora said.
With the win, they move on to play Pine Lake Prep Saturday at 3 p.m. at Starmount High School.
“We’re going to be motivated and we’re hopefully win and move on to the third round, but nothing’s guaranteed in the playoffs,” Adame said.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.