Entering Wednesday, the Greenbrier High School Wolfpack had to come from behind for 2-1 wins twice in reaching the Region 2-AAAAA title showdown with Houston County.
The Wolfpack went the other way, scoring two first-half goals and hung on the rest of the way, beating the Bears 2-1 to take the region crown.
“It definitely feels really, really good to be back and win this thing,” said junior Logan Tihey. “It’s two times in my three years being here.”
The Wolfpack (11-1, 9-0) now head to the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA boys state tournament as a No. 1 seed playing No. 4 seed Forest Park at home this week.
“That was one of our goals before the season started, to bring back a region championship and then see what happens,” said Wolfpack coach Graeme Connolly. “We were just trying to put us in the best possible position for home field advantage for state. We’ve certainly achieved everything we wanted to up to this point.”
Tihey was a huge part of the win as he assisted on both Wolfpack goals. With 15:41 left in the half, Tihey’s corner kick made its way to Daniel Dickerson in the middle.
Dickerson was able to spin and put the ball past the keeper, giving the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead.
The second goal was spectacular all around.
Throwing it in from the Bears’ left corner, Tihey got the ball to Mekhi Honore who quickly tapped it back to Tihey. Tihey sent a perfect cross high across the goal mouth.
Bryan Thompson came racing in just past the right post, kicked it out of the air behind him into the net for the 2-0 lead with 9:53 left before the break.
The Wolfpack could have been playing from behind once more as the Bears (14-2, 7-2) put pressure on the defense and goalkeeper Connor Washer almost immediately, but the sophomore Washer and the defense were up to the challenge.
Almost 10 minutes into the match, Washer tipped a ball that was over his head and seemingly destined to be a Bears’ 1-0 lead. At the midway mark of the half, the defense came to Washer’s rescue. With the Bears working the goal from left to right, they seemingly had a tap-in ready before senior Daniel Baylor came flying in to clear the ball out of harm’s way at the last second.
“My defense helped me out a lot, that’s all I can really say,” said Washer, who recorded six of his nine saves in the first half.
Connolly gave much credit to his talented keeper.
“I think Connor’s been outstanding all season long, he’s hardly made a mistake,” said Connolly. “He’s so composed and calm and collected for a young kid you forget how old he is at times. Anytime we need him, he’s there.”
In the second half, both teams had chances to score that went by the wayside until the Bears’ Sean Smith got their lone tally with 10:48 remaining.
Goals: Houston County-Sean Smith; Greenbrier-Daniel Dickerson, Bryan Thompson. Assist: Houston County-Johnathan Scruggs; Greenbrier-Logan Tihey (2). Goalkeepers: Houston County-Bryce Dawson (6); Greenbrier-Connor Washer (9).
Records: Houston County 14-2, 7-2 Region 2A-AAAAA; Greenbrier 11-1, 9-0.