Now there's another Lakeside High School soccer team that loves to hate the Evans Knights.
The Lakeside-DeKalb Vikings ruled in Region 7-AAAAA until Evans entered the scene last season and stole the crown.
On Friday night at Blanchard Stadium, the Knights defended their throne with a 3-2 win over the Vikings.
"They didn't want to come shake our hands after we beat 'em," Evans sweeper Drew Hess said. "Before last year, they had won the region title four or five years in a row. We took it away from them and they were looking to get it back, but we kept the title and they weren't too happy about that."
Evans has never lost to a Region 7-AAAAA opponent, and the Knights were perfect last week. The squad beat North Augusta and Greenbrier before vanquishing the Vikings.
"It's been a great week," Evans coach Brian Killips said.
Friday night was far from great for the visitors - Evans took a quick 2-0 lead, and after the Vikings tallied the equalizer in the second half, the Knights pounded Lakeside into submission.
"We've played very physically this year," Killips said. "I've really emphasized that we win every ball in the air and every 50-50 ball. It's just kind of ingrained in these guys that they're going to be first to the ball."
During the second half, play was stopped seven times for injuries, and Lakeside took most of the abuse.
"It was hard to watch so many guys on the ground," Hess said. "We were wanting to get the game over with."
The Knights got things over with the right way. With 6:59 remaining, Gavin Hamilton made a sideline run and crossed the ball toward the far post.
Evans' strikers Allen Ligon and Danny Battaglia converged on the Lakeside keeper, and Battaglia put the ball in the net for the game winner.
The Knights were both lucky and good against Lakeside. Evans scored its first goal when a throw-in by Justin Richards glanced off the head of a Viking defender, and the second score was just as improbable.
Hess lofted a free kick from nearly 50 yards out, and Battaglia managed to deflect the ball into the goal.
Killips deserved some good fortune. He has been hobbled by a freak Achille's tendon problem, and in Friday's match he was without two starting strikers - one was sidelined with an injury and the other was serving a suspension for a red-card violation in Wednesday's 4-1 win over Greenbrier.
With Friday night's win, Evans improved to 3-0 in Region 7-AAAAA with five region matches remaining. While Killips isn't taking anything for granted, he knows that Lakeside-DeKalb was the biggest challenge to overcome en route to a region repeat.
"If we play like we're capable, the region's in our hands," Killips said. "If these kids play like they did this week, I really like our chances to win region again."
If Evans can take back-to-back titles, the Knights might earn a nice bonus - respect.
"These guys deserve some confidence right now. They've been kind of flying in under the radar for the whole year," Killips said. "Lakeside and Greenbrier get a lot of the press, and that doesn't bother us at all. We'll let our game do the talking."
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