Wolfpack ready for playoffs
by Carlton D. White
April 11, 2013 01:14 AM | 2113 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
04-10-13  --Whitefield vs McIntosh 01-- Whitefield Academy's Max Rieves fires a shot on goal against McIntosh's Jack Cantion in the first period Wednessday evening in Mableton. STAFF/KELLY J. HUFF
04-10-13 --Whitefield vs McIntosh 01-- Whitefield Academy's Max Rieves fires a shot on goal against McIntosh's Jack Cantion in the first period Wednessday evening in Mableton. STAFF/KELLY J. HUFF
MABLETON — In order to establish itself as a potential Class AAAAA-A state championship threat, Whitefield Academy had to prove to itself that it could beat one of the state’s best.

Mission accomplished.

The sixth-ranked Wolfpack used their aggressive defense and transition offense to slow down eighth-ranked McIntosh en route to a 14-10 Area 1AAAAA-A victory at Whitefield Stadium Wednesday.

Whitefield Academy’s (10-2, 5-1) only other game against a ranked opponent this season was its 9-7 loss at Lovett in the third game of the year. With the victory over the Chiefs (7-4, 5-2), the Wolfpack extend their winning streak to seven games and keep their hold on the No. 2 seed in the area standings with three area contests remaining.

“Coach (John Hunter) has been telling us all week to just go out there and get the job done,” said Dallas Darling, who led Whitefield with four goals and two assists. “We played well together as a team and didn’t play like individuals. It was just a great game all around for us and a big region win.”

Seven different players netted goals for the Wolfpack. Joining Darling was Preston Blair, who had two goals and two assists, along with Alex Manning, who chipped in three scores. Justin Brendel scored twice and Sky Dupree, Marcus Jones and Braelen Phillips each had one goal.

It was the fourth straight game in which Whitefield totaled 10 or more goals.

Defense spurred the Wolfpack offense as Whitefield was very aggressive in corralling ground balls and getting out in transition. Taking command of the face offs also proved key with the Wolfpack owning a 17-10 overall advantage. Whitefield won all eight face offs in the fourth period.

“What we want to do is build around our defense,” Hunter said. “We have a good goaltender in Matt Milburn and a good, core group of kids who believe in themselves and what they can accomplish together. They want to finish every time they step on the field.”

McIntosh scored within the first three minutes of the game, but it was the only lead the Chiefs would have in the contest.

Whitefield tallied four straight goals to stake a 4-1 margin at the end of the first quarter. Blair scored one of the team’s goals following a restart of the action, while Darling’s marker off Blair’s assist occurred with 23.9 seconds on the clock in a man-up situation.

The Chiefs pulled to within one after opening the second quarter with two straight scores, but Whitefield responded with four consecutive goals for an 8-3 lead with 5:36 remaining until halftime.

Phillips scored off a diving shot attempt from 10 yards away, while Manning and Darling connected off ground ball turnovers in transition.

Whitefield led 9-4 entering the intermission and held a 10-7 advantage with 4.6 left in the third after the Chiefs’ Doug Learnard scored from 15 yards out.

The fourth period, however, belonged to Whitefield as it controlled possession for much of the frame and outscored McIntosh 4-3.

Whitefield out shot McIntosh 39-33 and was 3-for-6 in man-up situations. The disciplined Wolfpack didn’t allow the Chiefs to have any man-up opportunities.

Milburn finished with 11 saves while Cameron Scott had 15 for the Chiefs.

Bobbitt totaled three goals and one assist for McIntosh. Sam Hermon had two goals and one assist, while Learnard finished with two scores.

“Our confidence in each other is one of the strengths of our team,” Hunter said. “We know what we have to do in maintaining possession and getting ground balls and face offs. It allows our individuals to have moments where they can finish.”
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