McIntosh Chiefs boys upset MaxPreps #6 team in the nation, East Coweta

McIntosh's Candela puts Chiefs ahead 1-0.
McIntosh's Candela puts Chiefs ahead 1-0.

In a battle between two nationally ranked high school soccer teams, the McIntosh Chiefs pulled off a major upset on Saturday night on their home turf, defeating the previously undefeated East Coweta Indians 3-1.

East Coweta, ranked #6 nationally by MaxPreps, came into the game with a perfect record. But they faced a stiff test from the #17 ranked McIntosh Chiefs, who were looking to make a statement.

The Chiefs struck first in the 16th minute when Carson Candela received a pass from Gabriel Mawanda.

Candela cut inside and hit a bending shot 20 yards from goal around the goalkeeper into the far corner of the goal to put McIntosh up 1-0. With 31:08 left in the first half.

The Chiefs took a long throw in that the Indians cleared to Gabe Mawanda, who trapped the ball down with a back pass to Miles Strong, who hit a low hard shot from 16 yards away into the corner for a 2-0 lead.

Throughout the game, the Chiefs had a stifling defensive press that disrupted East Coweta’s ability to keep possession.

In the second half, the Chiefs took control in the 61st minute when East Coweta was pushing forward, trying to get back in the game when the Chiefs defense dispossessed the ends and played a quick pass to Mawanda, who played a point 30-yard pass in stride to Liam Newton Smith behind the Idians back line. After Newton-Smith dribbled past an on-rushing East Coweta Goalkeeper, he shot low and hard to score.

In the 76th minute, East Coweta plays a pass toward the goal, where a chief defender slides to win the ball. The referee called a penalty kick, which the Indian’s leading scorer, Brock Beldon, converted.

The Chiefs’ defense held strong over the final minutes to secure the monumental 3-1 victory. McIntosh improves to 6-0 on the young season while handing East Coweta its first loss.

“This was a great team effort tonight,” said McIntosh head coach Bunky Colvin after the game. “Our guys played with great heart and determination against an excellent opponent. I’m very proud of the way we battled.”

Colvin lauded the play of Mawanda, who finished with two assists, along with Candela and Newton-Smith for their goals. Colvin spoke of the toughness of his Chiefs and how their hard work this season is paying dividends. The Chiefs controlled 53 percent of possession and had more shots on target than East Coweta in each half.

With the win, the Chiefs emphasize that they are a team to watch this season in Georgia High School soccer and will look to keep their momentum going next week when they take on rival and the #3 teams in 4A Whitewater on Tuesday.

Friday, the Chiefs take on region rival Northgate before traveling for the showdown everyone wants to see, as the Chiefs travel to #1 Dalton for the battle of two of the winningest programs in Georgia history.

The Chiefs previously continued their dominant start to the season with a resounding 7-0 victory over defending GIAA 4A state champions Saint Anne Pacelli High School on Wednesday night in Columbus.