Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – From the beginning of the season, the Pacelli Boys Soccer team had one goal to win a State Championship for the first time in program history. The Vikings marched all the way to the GIAA State Championship game again Tattnall Square and when the dust settled the Vikings won 4-1. The feeling immediately after the final whistle was combination of elation and relief.
“The first thing I felt was relief, because the whole season our goal was pretty clear. We wanted to win State Championship, and it was just great to get it done,” said senior striker John Gatson.
The final score looked like a lop-sided victory but Pacelli faced some serious adversity in the final game. With 25 minutes left in regulation, the Vikings were down one man after a red card. Instead of crumbling the Vikings rose up to the challenge.
“It was a tough game. We had to struggle throughout the whole game. Because you know we had a red card. We had our ups and downs throughout it and I was just glad that we pulled out the win,” said senior forward and midfielder Brice Screws.
Pacelli won the GIAA State Championship in regulation, but to get here took hours of hard work. Head Coach Alex Ghoja was just elated to see all that time pay off.
“The countless hours that we do film together. Me reviewing film, trying to present certain situations to the boys. And things that we to be mindful of. Even just things that could help us be successful. Watching them try to implement that and buy into what we were trying to do game to game was just an amazing thing,” said Ghoja.
It was Coach Ghoja’s job to push the team to a championship level. While practices and film sessions weren’t always easy the team wanted to win it all for their head coach.
“I’ve really known him my whole life, because he was also my club coach. So it was great just to help him and give back. Because he’s always taught me everything I know,” said Gatson.
“I’ve known him for a pretty long time and throughout my time here at Pacelli he’s just been an amazing coach. So being able to bring home that State Championship for him it felt good,” said Screws.
While the Pacelli soccer program could on to win championships in the future, this team will always be the first ones to do it. Head Coach Ghoja says he won’t remember the goals, assists or any stats the most. He’ll remember the bond they had with each other.
“Just the fact that they’re a family, and they play together. We had some struggles in the final, especially going a man down. We had to pull together make some adjustments and they found a way to get it done,” said Ghoja.
Congratulations to our newest Kia AutoSport Athletes of the Week, the Pacelli Boys Soccer Team.