The Dalton High School Catamounts are bound for the Class 6A boys soccer state championship game once again.
After a 1-1 tie at halftime, Dalton pulled away with four second-half goals for a 5-2 win over Lakeside-DeKalb (17-2-1) in the Class 6A Final Four Tuesday.
The Catamounts (19-0-2) advance to the state finals, where they'll seek the program's sixth state championship. Dalton will play Johns Creek at McEachern High School in Powder Springs at 8 p.m. Friday.
In Tuesday's game, Dalton scored first on a Yahir Paez goal, but Lakeside knotted the game just before halftime.
"The second half, we saw a lot of heart," Dalton head coach Matt Cheaves said. "They (Lakeside) scored that goal with 30 seconds before halftime, and that gave them a lot of momentum. It took a lot of heart to come out and finish them off."
The Cats quickly got out to a 4-1 lead with 17:32 to go after goals from Ivan Ceja, Brandon Saldana and Filemon Quintero.
Lakeside scored with 13 minutes left in the game to get the Vikings within striking distance, but Zeke Ortiz finished off any Lakeside hope with a shot that deflected off the keeper and into the net with 5:28 to go.
Dalton will play Johns Creek in the final after the Spartans took down North Atlanta 4-0 in the semifinals Tuesday. The Catamounts won the state tournament the last time it was held in 2019. The latter portion of the 2020 season was called off due to COVID-19.
"It's a new season, but it's special to get back," Cheaves said.