Decatur High School, GA

Boys Soccer and Sam Ellis take home state championships

Thursday was a great day for the Bulldogs.

In Macon, the varsity boys’ soccer team took home the AAA state championship with a 3-2 victory over East Hall.

Senior Devin Olson headed in the go-ahead goal with a little over ten minutes left in the game as close to 100 Decatur students looked on. Olson finished with two goals and senior Nathan Tumperi had one.

Sophomore Owen Tumperi, Nathan’s kid brother, was unprepared for the wave of emotions he experienced after the win.

“I felt like I was in heaven,” he said. “I didn’t fully understand what we did until we got on the bus 20 minutes later. It was surreal.”

Of course, no state championship would be complete without a little controversy. Nathan was forced to forfeit his IB diploma to play in the game, which started at 2:30 and conflicted with his HL World History final.

“Right now,” he said, “I’d love to have that IB diploma. I worked really hard to not wind up getting it. But also I know, five or 10 years from now, in looking back, I’m gonna rather have that state championship.”

Other teammates found ways around the issue. Senior goalie Theo Davis elected to take half of his final at 11:30, which meant he couldn’t drive up with the team and sprinted onto the field less than five minutes before game time.

Senior Elliott Williams was taking four HL classes, so he decided to switch his HL World to an SL class in an effort to make it to the game.

He did.

"I couldn't feel my body," said Owen Tumperi (third from right) after the win.
“I couldn’t feel my body,” said Owen Tumperi (third from right) after the win.


The Bulldogs added a third star to their shirts, with each representing a state championship victory. Their last win came in 2003, when head coach David Harbin was captain. Their record this season, 16-3-1, was the same as ‘03’s.

“They’re incredibly tough, and they have a lot of faith in what they’ve done,” Harbin said. “They’ve fully bought into what the program has been teaching, and this was how they deserved to be rewarded.”

In Jefferson, Sam Ellis took home an individual state championship in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:13.10.

In all classifications (1A-6A), Ellis finished third overall.

“It was kinda [sic] expected but it feels nice. I won that race last year at state by less than a second and won this year by about the same margin to the same guy,” he said.

He edged out Chase Kennedy of East Jackson High and earned the Bulldogs ten points, tying them for tenth in the 3AAA track & field championships.

Excepting a couple weather delays, the event ran smoothly.

As this story was being published, the Bulldogs had yet to wrap up their second day of competitions. It continues this Friday and Saturday.

Photos courtesy of Martee Rodi

3TEN • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in