Both the Generals and Lady Generals completed unbeaten seasons with victories in the championship matches of the 2012 North Georgia Athletic Conference tournament at Rossville Middle School.
Coming into the finals as No. 1 seeds, the Lady Generals edged out Dade County, 1-0, before the Generals put an exclamation point on a dominant season with a 9-0 pasting of Ringgold.
The first half of the day's opening match was played in a cool breeze and a steady drizzle, and both teams struggled with the conditions to begin the match as they both missed on scoring opportunities early on.
Heritage's Mollie Samples sent a shot over the crossbar in the 20th minute, but got the ball back in the top right corner of the Dade County 18-yard box just over a minute later. Her shot was struck at a perfect angle and found the left-hand side of the net just out of the reach of the Lady Wolverines' keeper.
It was Samples' team-leading 25th goal of the season and it would turn out to be the game-winner. Samples was later named as the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Dade County nearly connected on the equalizer in the 23rd minute, but saw the shot sail high, and another chance at the tying goal in the 50th minute also missed its mark on the high side.
Heritage had a chance to add to their lead in the 54th minute, only to have the Dade County keeper punch it away at the last minute, and the Lady Generals' defense fended off one last charge from the Lady Wolverines in the closing minute to preserve a sixth consecutive NGAC title.
"We talked before the game about the winning team being the one that wanted it more," Heritage coach Mike Craft said. "Give Dade a lot of credit because they came out and played really hard and wanted to win, but our girls never quit fighting. They seemed like they were always first to the ball and they really wanted to win."
Heritage finished the season with a 13-0-3 overall record.
"I've got a great group of girls who really respond and do what you tell them to do," Craft added. "When we worked to correct things in practice, they'd go out the next game and do them the right way, which is the mark of a good team. The high school will be getting a lot of good players next year, and I'll miss them, but we'll be bringing back a lot of good players too. I'm very proud of all of them."
The outcome of the afternoon's second match was far less uncertain.
The echo of the match's opening whistle had barely faded out when the Generals fired the first shot of the day. The initial shot was saved, but Noah Hill followed up with a header on the rebound to put the Navy-and-Red up 1-0.
Four more goals would follow before the end of the first half as Heritage took a 5-0 lead. The fifth goal was a team milestone as Adam Ahlyege split two Ringgold defenders and blasted home the Generals' 100th goal of the season.
The Heritage reserves played the first 15 minutes of the second half before turning things back over to the starters, who found the net four more times in the final 15 minutes of the match.
Ahlyege, the tournament's MVP, scored four times in the rout. Hill added a hat trick, and Jorge Ramos tallied two goals as the Generals capped a perfect 15-0 campaign by outscoring their opponents 104-6.
"I'm not sure which number is more amazing," said Heritage coach Shane Taylor, shaking his head. "I just walked into an amazingly talented set of players this season. It wasn't really anything I did. They all just hustle to the ball and they all try to be the first to get a foot on every loose ball. I've coached soccer for 17 years and never seen this much offensive talent on one team."
Ahlyege, Hill, and Ramos all finished the season with more than 20 goals while 12 other players scored at least once for the Generals.
The Generals' eighth graders ended their middle school careers with just one loss, that coming to Ringgold in the 2010 NGAC final.