By Brad Fauber
STEPHENS CITY -- Host Sherando slapped a big exclamation point on what has been an outstanding regular season on Tuesday when it faced off with Northwestern District rival Skyline.
The Warriors received contributions from just about everyone, and eight different players scored goals for Sherando in a 9-0 rout of the Hawks. The Warriors started 11 of their 13 seniors in the match as part of Senior Night, and Sherando coach Patrick Anderson said it was nice to send the seniors out with a big win.
"We gave it to the seniors ... we just told them it was theirs to take," Anderson said. "That was a good way to finish up for us going into the [district] tournament."
The Warriors (13-1-1, 7-0-1 Northwestern) were quick to show the aggressiveness that helped them seize the regular-season district title, as Sherando nearly got on the board in the first 20 seconds of the match when senior Tyler Morris' shot scooted just wide of the goal.
Skyline (4-12, 0-8) narrowly survived that initial push by Sherando, but the Warriors found the back of the net early in the fifth minute when senior Cade Petty converted a penalty kick to give Sherando an early 1-0 lead.
Anderson began substituting in some of his underclassmen in the 14th minute, and the Warriors instantly received a boost from sophomore Tommy Buono, who assisted on a pair of goals and scored another to help Sherando stretch its lead to four goals.
Buono first found Morris in front of the net for a goal in the 15th minute, and five minutes later the sophomore sent a beautiful cross to Petty who converted for a short goal in the 20th minute. Buono connected with a goal of his own in the 23rd minute to give Sherando a 4-0 lead.
"Skyline's a good team, we just had some breaks there in the beginning and finished them, which is nice," Anderson said. "The first game [against Skyline] we tried to do everything individually, and today we were team-oriented and tried to get everyone involved."
The Warriors added two more goals in the half as sophomore Andrew Wade and senior Tylar Clowser each scored in the final 10 minutes of the first half to give Sherando a 6-0 halftime lead.
The goals continued coming for Sherando in the second half, as Cullen Croson, John Flanagan and Will Tatum each scored a goal in the first 13 minutes of the half. The match ended with 20 minutes remaining via the mercy rule.
Sherando held a decisive 26-4 shot advantage. Skyline keeper James Clatterbuck had eight saves.
For Skyline, Tuesday's loss was just the latest in a string of disappointing losses to end the regular season. The Hawks played several district teams tough earlier this year -- they lost to Sherando by three in their first meeting on April 18 -- but Tuesday was Skyline's fifth shutout loss in the last six games.
"I don't know if everybody else has gotten better and we've gotten worse or what the deal is. I don't know," Hawks coach Chris Holloway said. "We've got James Wood on Thursday night, so hopefully we can turn it around."
Skyline will play Thursday in the play-in game of the district tournament against James Wood, with the winner playing Sherando in the semifinals on Saturday.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org