Following last week's 2-1 win against Cedartown, Darlington's Middle School boys soccer team has earned a spot in the FCAA Middle School Soccer Championship finals later this month.
No points were scored in the first half of Thursday's game, which was hosted by Armuchee Middle School.
Cedartown led at the beginning of the second half, putting the first point on the board. With four minutes left, Darlington scored on a cross to Nicolas Seijo
, tying the game and sending it into overtime.
After a second five-minute period failed to declare a victor, penalty kicks began for the tied schools. Each team was given five penalty kicks, with the best of five proclaimed the winner.
Following a successful score on Cedartown by Patrick Shealy, JD "The Wall" Hull blocked the opposing team's first shot, securing a 1-0 lead for the Tigers.
After the teams continued to score back and forth, Darlington reached its fourth successful penalty kick with Alex Liddle at the helm.
"Alex approached the ball and kicked a rocket that flew passed [Cedartown's goal keeper]," said Randy Smith, Darlington's Middle School boys soccer coach.
The final penalty kick count was 4-2 in Darlington's favor, with an overall final score of 2-1, as the Tigers advanced to the FCAA finals.
"This fantastic core group of eighth-graders has been with me for three years," said Smith. "With amazing play from our seventh grade and great support from our sixth-graders, our trip to the championship finals is that much sweeter."
The Middle School boys made it to the finals in last year's soccer championship thanks to another round of penalty kicks.
The Tigers will face Pepperell in the FCAA Championship finals at Rockmart High School on Wednesday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m.
The team's coach has offered up an additional incentive if they win next week's game.
"If we bring back the championship trophy, I will shave off my beard in front of the entire school [in morning assembly]," said Smith.