Columbia County's Stephen Shugars, left, and Troup County's Joshua King chase a loose ball during Saturday's U-10 Georgia Recreation and Parks Association title game in Patriots. Columbia County beat Troup 1-0.
Photo by Mike Howell
As the team captains met prior to Saturday's Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state championship game in the under-10 age division, a rainbow arched behind the pitch at Patriots Park.
The Columbia County all-stars eventually claimed their pot of gold, or at least a large golden trophy, after taking the title with a 1-0 win over Troup County.
"Believe it or not, very few teams win a state title at home. For some reason, when you go out on the road, the team bonds," said coach Kenny Shugars, who also led the U-10 squad to the GRPA state crown last year in Thomasville, Ga.
Austin Tadlock dominated the action at midfield, while Thomas Hamilton tallied the game-winning goal for Columbia County.
"In my opinion Austin was the MVP of the tournament," Shugars said. "Thomas is a defender, but we moved him up front because he's got the hardest shot on the team. He got two shots and the second one won the game."
Columbia County's repeat in the U-10s highlighted the 2001 GRPA state soccer championships, which were held Friday and Saturday. The U-10 and U-12 boys and girls battled at Patriots Park, while the U-14s and U-16s tournament was held at the Augusta Soccer Complex.
Columbia County's U-12 girls also earned a state title Saturday with a 6-0 blowout of Bartow County at Patriots Park.
The end of the rainbow must have stretched into Richmond County, where another Columbia County all-star team won the U-14 boys' championship with an overtime win against Americus.
Columbia County All-star Austin Tadlock takes a corner kick during the U-10 GRPA state tournment.
Photo by Mike Howell
Columbia County edged Americus 9-8, with the deciding goal coming in a penalty-kick shootout. Columbia County goalkeeper Brad Swartz preserved the one-goal margin with a diving stop on the final penalty shot attempt.
"We are the champions"
Columbia County winners in the GRPA State soccer tournament
U-12 girls championship game (Patriots Park): Columbia County 6, Bartow 0. Goals - Meagan Morgan 2, Lindsey Leverett, Jennifer Anderson, Libby Dalis, Kaitlin Kupar; assists - Stormi Childs, Lauren White, Cassie Bailey, Mary Kay Law, Katie Chandler, Magan Schwartz; goalkeepers - Tiffany Burch, Olivia Carver; outstanding field play - Laura Martin Carrisa Hobbs.
U-10 boys championship game (Patriots Park): Columbia County 1, Troup County 0. Goal - Thomas Hamilton; assist - Austin Tadlock; goalkeeper - Scott Hill (3 saves); outstanding field play - Austin Tadlock.
U-14 boys championship game (Augusta Soccer Park): Columbia County 9, Americus 8 (decided on penalty-kick shootout). Goals - Forrest Patrick 2, Nate Turner, Juan Araque, Brad Swartz, Christopher Jackson, Ian Ribble, John Hunter, Beyra Ortega; goalkeepers - Reeves Richards (5 saves), Brad Swartz (5 saves; outstanding field play - Christopher Jackson, Justin Gurley.
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