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SEHS boys fall in Sweet 16 of state soccer playoffs
Cole Hoffman
South Effingham's Cole Hoffman, J.P. Alonso and Tim France crowd the box, but Riverwood goalie Alex Alvarez comes up with the loose ball to thwart a scoring opportunity Friday in the second round of the Class 6A boys’ soccer state playoffs. Riverwood won 3-0. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


GUYTON – The South Effingham boys soccer season ended quietly April 26 at the Corral.

A sport the Mustangs made look so easy this spring couldn’t have been more frustrating against Riverwood during a 3-0 loss in the second round of the Class 6A state soccer playoffs.

“I still think we’re the best team in the area,” SEHS coach DaKota Paradice said. “I said it before the season and I’ll say it now. A school-record (15-3-1) season only proved it.”

Given time, wounds heal. Four-year senior starters Devin Corley and Tyler Quick led the program to 55 wins and two Sweet Sixteen state appearances after the Mustangs moved up to Class 6A.

South’s only losses this season – two to Glynn Academy and one to Riverwood – came against opponents that advanced to the Elite Eight.

“I’ve had Devin and Tyler for four years and I was able to look them in the eye and say we set a goal during your freshman year that you’d set a legacy here,” Paradice said. “I’m very proud of them. Future teams are going to remember them.”

On Friday night, Riverwood (15-3-1), from the Atlanta area, was more than formidable. The Raiders, a No. 4 seed from Region 4. knocked off Region 1’s No. 1 seed Veterans in the opening round of the playoffs.

And the defensive-minded Raiders stifled the Mustangs’ high-powered offense. SEHS managed just seven shots and was shut out for the first time this season.

A week earlier, the Mustangs scored seven times against Forest Park.

“I thought my guys played great, but we didn’t have many opportunities,” Paradice said.

Desmond Prince
South Effingham's Desmond Prince (No. 9) gets off a shot past Riverwood defender Legend Jones (No. 5). Prince and the Mustangs offense struggled during a 3-0 loss in the second round of the Class 6A boys’ soccer state playoffs on Friday. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)
A key moment in the match came in the 22nd minute when Riverwood goalie Alex Alvarez stopped Desmond Prince’s penalty kick to preserve a 1-0 lead.

South had a potential goal negated by an offsides call in the second half.

“I know Desmond will be kicking himself, but we’re teaching boys about life,” Paradice said. “Maybe one day he’ll be doing a job and he won’t hit his mark. Games like this teach you to handle adversity.”

Riverwood’s Ricardo Moreno and Trey Douglas added second-half goals to pad the victory.

Several Mustangs just sat on the turf as time finished ticking on their season.

“During the season, you saw their happiness with winning, but now you see their pain,” Paradice said. “You see the human aspect of the game. For my underclassmen, now they see how bad that pain is and that will help with the drive (to be better).

“Every team in the state is going to feel this way except for one. We don’t like it, but we feel good about our program. We’ve been getting better and better every year.”