The 18-1 Cambridge Bear Boys Varsity Soccer team hosted the nationally ranked Gainesville H.S. Red Elephants in the Class AAAAAA State semi-final play-off for the right to play for a State Championship. Entering the match, Gainesville had a positive goal differential (Goals For less Goals Against) in their three state playoff matches and were ranked #10 Nationally and #4 in GA by MaxPrep. In 2017, Gainesville lost to Chattahoochee in the state championship match 2-1 in 2 OTs.
The match started with both teams testing the other with back and forth play then in the 5th minute or so the Bears settled into their possession style play and began to control the tempo of the match. In the 16th minute, John Crawley was taken down in the 18-yard box, earning a penalty kick and Ethan Rose stepped up and sent a missile into the back of the net; Cambridge 1 Gainesville 0. At the 20th minute mark, a penalty was called against Cambridge and our lengthy goalie Nic Sides, forced a wide attempt which hit off the post. The visitors attempted a rebound but were called off-sides. The 1st half ended Cambridge 1 Gainesville 0.
The 2nd half opened with more direct play by the visitors and more counter-attacks by the Bears. In the 20th minute, after numerous fouls against various Bears, there was an encounter between the Center Referee and a Bear's player as the Bear's player was being substituted off the field. The player received a straight Red Card (no re-entry to the match and suspended for the next match). Fortunately, because the player had been substituted and was off the field of play, the Bears could continue to play with 11 players on the pitch. The Bears continued to battle for the balance of the match and in the 75th minute, Jarvin Ramirez struck the ball into the net off a Reece Degan deflected shot, Cambridge 2 Gainesville 0.
The visitors continued to chase the match and Cambridge countered time and again; in the 78th minute Reece Degan earned a penalty kick and buried his opportunity in the back of the net for the final score of the match! This secured Cambridge's first trip to the State Championship Match! Final score Cambridge 3 Gainesville 0.
To the fans, students, parents and administration, which numbered nearly 1,000, thank you for your continued support on this journey! The soccer program coaches, players, boosters and parents are so thankful and appreciative.
Please plan to come out and support our Bears at the State Championship Match, Saturday, May 12, 2:30 pm at McEachern High School.