Generals win regional boys soccer title
QUICKSBURG – Stonewall Jackson had lost twice to Riverheads during the regular season, but on Friday the Generals wasted no time in showing the Gladiators things would be different in their third meeting.
Stonewall Jackson scored several early goals and cruised to a 6-2 victory over Riverheads in the Region 1B boys soccer final.
“We didn’t want to lose this game,” Stonewall Jackson senior Juan Arrocena-Jacuinde said. “We knew what we had to do. We wanted to come out strong, don’t let any mistakes in through and we proved ourselves and we won today.”
Stonewall Jackson senior Carlos Romero-Hernandez scored the Generals’ first four goals of the game.
On Romero-Hernandez’s first goal, he followed up his own missed shot and put it past Riverheads’ goalkeeper Dillon Annese for a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
Romero-Hernandez scored again six minutes later for a 2-0 advantage. Annese came out of the goal to try to make a stop, but Romero-Hernandez made a move past him and shot into the empty net.
“Carlos did a fantastic job, there’s no question,” Stonewall Jackson coach Matt Burgwald said. “But a striker can’t score if his teammates don’t get him the ball. So it’s still a team effort. He did a fantastic job. Yes, he did what he was supposed to do. However, so did everybody else behind him.”
Romero-Hernandez scored again with seven minutes left in the first half on an assist from David Arteaga Loorenzo, and again two minutes later for a 4-0 lead.
Romero-Hernandez said his teammates played a big role in his scoring.
“They did a really good job getting passes exactly where I want, and that’s why we (won),” he said.
The Gladiators cut the lead in half in a span of nine minutes. Riverheads senior Joshua Akinwumi scored on a penalty kick with less than two minutes left in the first half. Akinwumi added another goal with 33 minutes left in the game to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Generals responded with a goal by Arteaga Loorenzo with 24 minutes left in the game. Arrecona-Jacuinde added another goal two minutes later to seal the victory.
Riverheads beat Stonewall Jackson, 4-2, on March 26 and, 2-1, on April 26 during the regular season. Arrecona-Jacuinde said the Generals were motivated to change the outcome Friday and show how much they’ve improved.
“When we last played them we weren’t doing so great against them,” he said. “And it shows how much we’ve improved and how much we’ve done just to get here.”
The Generals struggled to win games the last few seasons and now will host Rappahannock High School in the Class 1 state quarterfinals on Tuesday. Burgwald said he’s very proud of what his team has accomplished this season.
“This regional championship is important for Shenandoah County,” Burgwald said. “It’s important to show that a program that won two or three games last year has the opportunity to turn it around. And with grit, determination and a lot of hard work, the kids came out and did what they were supposed to do.”