DHS varsity soccer teams record first wins of the 2022-23 season


Decatur boys team celebrate together after 3-2 victory over Cross Keys.

Grant Whitley

On Mar. 3, the Decatur High School (DHS) girls and boys varsity soccer teams recorded their first wins of the 2022-23 school year. In a dominating first half, Decatur’s girls team led 7-0 against Cross Keys High School. Decatur later won 10-0 by mercy rule with over 15 minutes remaining in the second half.

Some notable performances from Decatur’s girls team were senior Daphne Hall with three goals and one assist, and senior Hazel Altizer with two goals and one assist.

On the other hand, the Decatur boys team faced a more evenly matched opponent, narrowly winning after taking the lead with 34 seconds remaining in the game.

Early in the first half, Decatur came out swinging as senior Jack Duitsman headed one in off of a corner from senior Lucas Parrilla. During the remainder of the first half and the opening minutes of the second half, Cross Keys took control of the game. Jonathan Guiteriez of Cross Keys scored the equalizer, and Papa Dioh secured the lead. Deep into the second half, Cross Keys maintained their lead 2-1.

Throughout this two-goal run by Cross Keys, Decatur had many chances to score including multiple runs from sophomore Tristan Hernandez and junior Liam Webber, and set-piece opportunities from Parrilla. Sadly for the bulldogs, Decatur’s efforts did not result in goals.

With 15 minutes remaining, DHS began dominating, after a powerful shot from sophomore Luke Chapman struck the crossbar, and a goal from sophomore Jacob Enfinger tied the game 2-2.

“I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to come back when we went down going into the second half, but after Jacob scored the 2nd goal and we started getting chances, I had a feeling that we would score [again],” Webber said.

With 30 seconds left, on the third consecutive corner, a high-flying ball curved into the box, wrapping towards the back post as Webber jumped above his defender and headed the ball into the far right corner. Students erupted and the benches cleared in celebration of Webber’s last-second goal to give DHS the lead in the final moments of the game.

“Leading up to the goal I felt pretty focused and calm, and after obviously it felt amazing,” Webber said.

In the final seconds of the game, Decatur focused intently as they attempted to not concede in their excitement. Decatur’s defender Freeman Mosley continually cleared the ball out of Decatur’s half, until the final whistle blew. 

Seconds after, DHS players rejoiced in their win, circling with their fellow teammates and running to the students above in the stands. 

“It was really awesome to see how happy the rest of the team was when we won,” Webber said, “This win means everything. The start to the season didn’t go as we hoped, but recently we’ve been gelling more and feeling like a family. So the win only amplifies that.”

Both the boys and girls teams have struggled against non-region competition this season, so this game was a relief and satisfaction after five consecutive losses. It is important to note the high level of competition in non-region games, as the girls team have faced teams like last year’s 5AAAAA GHSA tournament runner up, the Midtown High School Knights. Additionally, the boys have faced teams such as the 8-0 Mcintosh High School Chiefs who have steamrolled through their competition.

Either way, Decatur players and fans have felt a huge relief after the dissatisfactory start to the season.