By REID TUCKER
South Walton’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams soared over their counterparts from Bozeman, handily sweeping the Bucks 8-0 and 5-1, respectively.
The Seahawks (3-2-2, 2-0 in Class 2A District 1) gave up just one goal in the opening minutes of the first game, but other than that the Dec. 2 double header was firmly in the clutches of the South Walton teams. The high scorers of the evening were Claudia Gordillo on the girls’ side, with four goals, while three players on the boys’ team, including Gordillo’s younger brother Guadalupe, scored two goals apiece. Rebecca Hall scored the lone goal of both Bozeman’s teams.
Bozeman jumped to an early lead in the girls’ game with a goal from Hall in the third minute, but the Hawks quickly returned fire, as Gordillo quickly put up three goals of her own. Jessica Chapman scored once more for South Walton after the half, followed again by Gordillo in the 82nd minute of the game. Gordillo made a brilliant cross-field pass play which failed on the first attempt before resetting the ball and trying again, this time finding the corner of the net to win the game for the Lady Hawks.
“Our key to winning tonight was our passing game,” South Walton assistant coach Fletcher Isacks said. “We came out really hard in the second half. The girls really passed like pros and that last shot is proof.”
South Walton quickly took the lead in the boys’ game, with Rex Rutledge getting on the board in the 11th minute. Ravi Abuvula juked past Bozeman keeper Jordan Burns and headed on an open goal in the 14th minute but the shot went wide, though Roberto de La Torre scored soon after. Edgar Flores, who scored three goals in the Hawks’ previous game against Franklin County, scored in the 18th minute and again in the 33rd after getting a passing assist from team mate Andy Rodriguez.
Freshman Guadalupe Gordillo drilled one past Bozeman’s keeper in the 53rd minute after putting a frustrating five blocked shots on goal in the first half. Jose Flores then scored two back-to-back goals, the first from 35 yards out in the 60th minute and the second in the 66th. Finally, Gordillo closed out the game just a minute later to get Seahawks a mercy-rule victory over the scoreless Bucks.
Though Bozeman’s backfield and goalie Burns kept South Walton from scoring on eight of 11 shots on goal in the first half, the Bucks sent only two shots of their own in the first half (the second of which came right as time was called), both of which were blocked by South Walton. The second half was no better for the Bucks, who got off just one shot compared to South Walton’s 10, though the six that didn’t go in were either blocked or missed outright by the Seahawk offense.
Despite the one-sided nature of the game, South Walton head coach Jimmy Johnson said he didn’t go into the match thinking a Seahawk victory a foregone conclusion. Considering the missed scoring opportunities, Johnson said the game could have ended even sooner.
“We didn’t know what to expect going into this game tonight,” he said. “We played extremely well tonight, that’s for sure, but we had to because [Bozeman] was very physical like they always are. We’ve absolutely got to work on our corner kicks and make sure not to miss wide-open goals if we want to continue to be successful.”