War Eagles earn second Viking Cup victory

Jase Burrell (No. 5) dribbles the ball looking for an open man to which he can pass.

PHOTO: Brandon Bush

By Brandon Bush



Although they didn’t win all three games, the War Eagles didn’t take any L’s in Macon last week.

Putnam County High School competed in First Presbyterian Day School’s Viking Cup tournament last Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and performed well in all three meetings; the Eagles dismantled Strong Rock Christian, 9-0, before tying with FPD, 2-2 (and subsequently falling in penalty kicks 4-3). The Eagles concluded their successful week with a 10-0 mercy rule victory over First Presbyterian Christian Academy on Friday.

“We played really well [this week],” Putnam County assistant coach Mark Silva said about the tournament. “The competition earlier in the tournament was a little stronger. [FPCA] is a really young team. I think we did a good job of sharing the ball, and I think we had six or seven different guys score. They’ve really grown as a team and they’re beginning to understand the concept of playing together.”

Putnam County entered the tournament as the defending champion from last year’s Viking Cup, and although it tied with FPD during the week, its point total was high enough for the Eagles to secure their second consecutive Viking Cup championship. The successful week gives Putnam County a 7-1-1 record in 2018.

It didn’t take long for the War Eagles to pull ahead of FPCA in the opening minutes of the game; after going up 1-0 early, Diego Sanchez nailed a long shot at 29:17 to further the Highlanders’ deficit. Putnam’s 2-0 lead was only the beginning of the beating the War Eagles gave to FPCA.

Jose Hernandez drilled a goal at 19:51 in the first half, giving the Eagles a 4-0 lead. The talent gap between the two teams was large enough for Putnam to begin rotating in players off the bench.

Corey Peacock grabbed the final goal of the first 40 minutes, putting Putnam at a 6-0 lead at halftime and just one goal shy of earning a reduced second half. The Eagles had shot the ball 10 times for six goals going into the second phase of the game.

It only took 15 minutes for the War Eagles to finish off the Highlanders. Brenton Nelson, who previously scored the game-winning goal against Oglethorpe the week before, opened the second half by scoring Putnam’s seventh goal just seven minutes in. At 31:00 in the half, Sanchez added another goal to the lead.

Putnam continued to carve up the Highlanders until they reached a 10-0 lead with around 25 minutes remaining in the second half. As it does with several other sports, the GHSA implements a “mercy rule” for teams that trail by 10 or more points at a certain point in the contest, giving the War Eagles the win. 

The next task for the War Eagles comes in the form of a road trip to Elbert County on Friday for Putnam’s first region game since hosting Oglethorpe on Feb. 23. Upcoming meetings with Monticello and Social Circle will test the Eagles in region play as they look to make a postseason appearance.

“We just try and focus on one game at a time,” Silva said about the Eagles’ season going forward. “We don’t overlook the opponent in front of us; we just try to beat their brains out and move on to the next one. Sometimes teams start looking at a game two or three weeks down the calendar, and you just can’t do that. Somebody will beat you.”  

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