Thomasville cruised to a 10-0 mercy rule victory over East Laurens in the first round of the AA state tournament on Thursday.
The Bulldogs were on the board within minutes when Tommy Hill notched Thomasville’s tempo-setting, first goal of the evening.
And the floodgates burst open from there.
Luke Herren netted a score four minutes later, then Alex Peralta followed with back-to-back goals in a two minute span.
Austin Mata ensued with a pair of goals in the 14th and 18th minute, including a diving score netted on the heel of his right foot.
Hank Sofferin pelted Thomasville’s seventh goal on a breakaway run then Mata added his third score by brushing the upper left edge seams of the net.
East Laurens even gave Thomasville a freebie by inadvertently kicking one in.
Sofferin scored what would’ve been the tenth and clinching goal, but was called back for a foul when the East Laurens keeper fell the ground just prior.
The infraction was one of two that Thomasville sustained in the first period; the other was an offsides penalty called just before halftime.
The Bulldogs manifested 11 goals in the opening period, of which only nine were officially accounted. Thomasville wrapped the win when Sofferin scored the Bulldogs’ tenth goal in the 42nd minute, just over 60 seconds into the second half.
Thomasville coach Keith Gwaltney attributed the possession battle to be the determining factor in the Bulldogs’ win – its fourth by virtue of the mercy rule this season.
“Usually in soccer, the team that wins the possession game wins the actual game,” Gwaltney said. “You can’t really score if you don’t have the ball.”
Gwaltney added that earlier this week he had consistency concerns following Thomasville’s loss to Cairo in its regular season finale. The coach said after Thursday’s win that his team exemplified the “full throttle” approach he emphasized this week in practice.