In a playoff Monday to determine the top seed and host school for the tournament semifinals and championship, the Falcons (15-1-1) set the tone early and kept the momentum throughout in a 7-0 victory over Gate City at Tennessee High’s Stone Castle.
Abingdon has hosted home games this season at Emory & Henry. But coach Jordan Blackson said after Monday’s win that tournament games will not be played at the college.
“As of today, Emory & Henry’s turf is being taken up and they’re putting brand new turf down and that’s about a three-week process,” Blackson noted. “So now we’re looking at Sugar Hollow (Park in Bristol) lower field as our tournament host. And then again, (the Stone Castle) could be a possible alternative tournament location.”
The tournament is scheduled to begin Thursday when Gate City (11-3-2) hosts Lee High.
Abingdon, with the bye, plays in Saturday’s semifinal round, most likely at Sugar Hollow.
CONTROLLING THE PACE
Abingdon set a blistering pace with a strong offensive attack Monday against its Mountain 7 regular-season co-champion.
The Falcons kept the ball in front of Gate City’s goal for most of the game and finished with 28 shots on goal. The Blue Devils had only nine shots on goal.
“They came out of the gate like a thoroughbred and got three quick ones in and we couldn’t recover it from it,” said Gate City coach Aaron Hillman. “We played our hearts out, but tonight wasn’t our night. Tonight was Abingdon’s night.”
Abingdon went on an early tear Gate City couldn’t recover from.
Corey Britt scored the Falcons’ first goal 8:14 into the contest. A minute and two seconds later, James Whitten scored their second. A third came a mere 35 seconds later on a shot by Bryton Vandyke.
A Graham Griffin goal at the 23:23 mark sent Abingdon into the halftime break up 4-0.
Griffin added his second goal 2½ minutes out of intermission and netted a third about 11 minutes later.
Gabe Boothe added the final goal of the night.
“We knew what we were capable of when we came out here,” Blackson said. “Give credit to Gate City. Gate City has really improved from last year and they’re really a strong team in our district.
“The loss to Union earlier in the year and, of course, the tie with Gate City week before last put us into this position. But we knew what we were capable of. We were excited that it was at neutral field and I just really felt like we possessed the ball well and just outshot them.”