The John Milledge Academy boys soccer team took care of business in a big way Thursday when it hosted Valwood School.
The Trojans (8-6) trounced the Valiants (3-9) of south Georgia in dominant fashion, 8-0. The home team scored its first goal 43 seconds into the match and never looked back, notching five more before the first half was up. JMA head coach Cody Mahler substituted heavily throughout the second half as his team cruised to victory.
The John Milledge juniors had a huge day out on the pitch versus Valwood. Shay NeSmith finished with a hat trick while his classmates Grayson Aldridge and Tommy Collier had two goals apiece. Midfielder Hunter Hudson tallied a score and two assists. Caleb Todd and sophomore Lane Medders combined for the clean sheet in goal with five stops between them.
JMA boys soccer now has only one regular season match remaining, and it’s a big one. The Trojans today will travel to Westminster of Augusta for a contest that will decide the region championship. John Milledge will finish first or third depending on the outcome. A loss would actually tie the Trojans for second, but Monsignor Donovan holds the head-to-head tiebreaker there. Mahler after Thursday’s blowout win over Valwood described what his team needs to do in order to take down Westminster, the most dominant GISA boys soccer program of the last decade.
“It’s going to take all 20 guys doing their part,” he said. “It’s going to take a holistic team effort. We’re going to have to play really good defense and score on the chances that we get. Westminster’s the No. 2 team in the state, so it’s going to be a tough task but I think we can handle it… It’s definitely going to take our best game of the year, but we’re trending in a good direction right now. We’re clicking where we need to click and everything’s looking good.”
The Westminster match also has other ramifications beyond the region. The Trojans are 10th in the GISA AAA boys soccer MaxPreps power rankings, which are being used this year to determine playoff seeding. A win against second-ranked Westminster could vault the JMA boys into the top eight, meaning they would get to host in the first round of the state playoffs that begin next week.
The John Milledge and Westminster girls will take the pitch before the boys Tuesday. Girls kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. while the boys are set for a 7:30 p.m. start.