Lakeside boys soccer coach Dave Morgan wanted to hold injured Panther senior Grant Guthrie out of Friday's Class AAAA quarterfinal game as long as possible.
Fifteen minutes into the contest, that game plan went out the window when he entered the game as a substitute. Guthrie made the revision pay off. Despite hobbling around the field for much of the game, Guthrie assisted senior Zach Dillard's game-winning goal, and Lakeside scored twice in the final 19:03 of the game to advance to the state semifinals with a 2-1 win against Rome at Panther Stadium.
After the game, Guthrie - who sprained his foot against Ware County in the second round - was in obvious pain. But the win certainly helped soothe the injury.
"It was tough to maneuver," Guthrie said. "I couldn't plant or anything." There was nothing wrong, however, with his game-sealing pass.
Tied at 1-1 with a very game Wolves (7-6-2) squad, Guthrie found Dillard in the middle of the goal box, and the senior's left-footed rocket beat a diving Rome goalkeeper Randolph Croker for the score.
"I was amazed at first,"said Dillard, who notched the first game-winning goal of his career. "I was overjoyed. I was just flooded with emotion." Considering the Panthers (16-4-1) were flat for much of the game, that type of emotion was exactly what they needed.
Without Stephen Newman - he was disqualified for the quarterfinals and semifinals after receiving a red card against Ware County - and with Guthrie at less than 100 percent, Rome took a lead early in the second half when Lino Suami found the back of Lakeside's net.
"The goal woke us up a little,"said Morgan, whose team will make its fourth-straight appearance in the state's Final Four. "We had some guys out, and we had other guys playing unfamiliar positions. Newman has been the leader of our team. Losing him was a big adjustment."
Luckily for Lakeside, Tosin Fawibe - whose goal-scoring header equalized the game with 19:03 to play - and Dillard acclimated just fine.
"Once we got down, we realized we needed to quit messing around,"Guthrie said. "We started kicking the ball around a little bit, and luckily Zach was there for me to pass to him."
Class AAAA quarterfinals
Lakeside 2, Rome 1
Goals: Rome-Lino Suami. Lakeside-Tosin Fawibe, Zach Dillard. Assist:
Lakeside-Michael Clark, Grant Guthrie. Keeper: Rome-Randolph Crocker (6
saves). Lakeside-Chris DeLeon (5 saves). Record: Rome 7-6-2. Lakeside
16-4-1. Next: Lakeside in state semifinals, TBA.
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216. or email@example.com