Dunton, Ogletree come up big
By JOSEPH MYERS
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
The Columbus High boys soccer team will live to play another day, and the Blue Devils have Sam Dunton and Luke Ogletree to thank for it.
Dunton made three huge saves and Ogletree put home the match-winning goal for No. 6 Columbus in its penalty-kick shootout win over Druid Hills in a Georgia High School Association Class AAA first round state playoff match Thursday night at the Walden Soccer Complex at Columbus State.
Columbus won the shootout -- which lasted 10 topsy-turvy rounds -- 7-6 after the teams played 80 minutes of regulation soccer and two five-minute overtimes without scoring a goal.
"(Dunton and Ogletree) are two guys who deserve this given the work they've put in, not just in practice with us, but by themselves as well," said Columbus head coach Tom Perry. "(Dunton) is a hard charger all the time and it showed tonight.
"(Ogletree) really worked hard in the offseason and developed his game. He's always had the tenacity. I feel like that there was anybody on the roster who could get us that goal when we needed it, there's no better guy than him."
With the win, Columbus (15-2-1) will now face Sandy Creek (14-2) Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs in Tyrone. Sandy Creek, the Region 4-AAA champions, knocked off Thomson, 3-1, in the opening round Thursday.
In the shootout, Druid Hills (8-6-2) made its first three penalty kicks and Columbus its first two before the Blue Devils missed on their third try. However, the Red Devils clanged their next penalty kick off the right post, seemingly handing the momentum back to Columbus.
But the Blue Devils promptly missed their next attempt, giving Druid Hills a chance to make a fourth penalty kick and end the match. Julian Rugel took the kick for the Red Devils, but Dunton dove to his left and knocked the ball away to prolong the shootout. With a new lease on life, Emory Cook scored for Columbus to tie things at 3 and send the shootout
to a sixth round.
"When I'm facing penalty kicks, before the person takes their shot, I pick a side to go to," said Dunton, who finished the match with six saves. "I just try to get to that side as quick as I can, go all out and make myself as big as I can."
Both teams made their sixth, seventh and eighth penalty kicks. In round nine, Druid Hills led off and Dunton rose to the occasion, going to his left again to make a save and this time, Columbus had a chance to end the proceedings by merely putting one more goal in the back of the net. However, it was Greyson Waldroff's turn to play the hero, as the Red Devils' keeper stopped a shot to send the shootout to a tenth round.
Druid Hills captain Sol Samuels stepped up to the spot for the Red Devils, but Dunton denied him by going to his right to stop Samuels' shot. Ogletree came forward for the Blue Devils and beat Waldroff with a shot in the left side of the net to send Columbus through to the next round and set off a massive celebration by the Blue Devils.
Ogletree wasn't expecting to have to take a kick when the shootout started.
"Honestly, I never thought it'd get to me," said Ogletree, whose match-winner was his first goal of the season. "We normally send our first five guys out there and it ends with them. But once it got past the first five, I volunteered and (Perry) wanted the seniors and people who were most confident."
Columbus 7, Druid Hills 6
Westminster 10, Carver 0
Lovett 6, Spencer 0
Jordan at Blessed Trinity
Brookstone 3, Fellowship Christian 2
Columbus vs. Riverwood (at CSU), 6:30 p.m.
Jordan vs. Westminster (at Woodruff), 4 p.m.
Spencer at Blessed Trinity
Towns County at Brookstone, 5 p.m.