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Tide has state title as its goal

Last year was a good season for Long County boys soccer team. In only its third year of existence the team went 10-4, ending the season as the second seed in the 2-AA Region.

In the playoffs, the Blue Tide beat Fitzgerald 5-1, advancing to the Sweet-16 where they fell to Riverside Military Academy.
Though the Tide lost 2-AA All-Region Player of the Year Alberto Nevarez, head coach Paul Austin says the team’s goal is still to make a run at the state championship.
“Our goal is simple, make it to playoffs,” Austin said. “After that, we will adjust our goal to another state run.”
Austin said this year his team is young, but he will still be looking for players to step up and assume a leadership role.

“Leadership is key for this team getting back into state playoff contention,” the coach said. “I think we may have more talent than we have had in the past, but at this point we are lacking the leadership.”
He said four-year starter Tanner Brant may step into that role. Other key returners are Alex Duenes, David Mejia, Luis Perez, Paul Cruz, Jacinto Cruz, Ulises Franco, Armondo Orozco and Abel Cruz.

Austin said that shots on goal should be a strength.
“Us bringing back such a large group of offensive players should allow us to take more shots,” Austin said.

Though the Blue Tide should be one of the better team in the region, Austin said finding the right goalie will be critical.
“We lost Chris Cummings in the goal due to injury,” Austin said. “Chris is the best keeper I have seen around. We are now in a huge competition to find out who will fill these huge shoes.”

Tuesday, the Blue Tide kickoff the season, taking on Bryan County in Pembroke. The girls game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., followed by the boys.

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