Eastside Boys Manhandle Suwannee To Win 6th Straight District Championship


The tension was palpable as the Eastside and Suwannee soccer teams took to the field for their highly anticipated match. Their first encounter took place nearly four months ago, when both teams were still finding their identities on the field; that game ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams knew that tonight was different, though, as one team had to be crowned victorious in the 2023 4A District Two championship match.

Suwannee looked to apply pressure early with their notorious, possession-based style of play, but Eastside had other plans. In the opening minutes of the match, Eastside Junior Jayven Cromwell struck, firing a looping shot into the top corner from nearly 25 yards out. The crowd erupted in cheers as Eastside took an early lead, but Suwannee was not about to give up without a fight.

Heading into the second quarter, Eastside’s dominance on the field was clear. Suwannee was relentless, though, with a few close calls taken care of by senior goalkeeper Andres “Spear” Stuve. With just five minutes until halftime, Suwannee conceded a foul that gave sophomore Jonas Traktuev the chance to take a free kick. Traktuev keenly noticed the keeper’s poor positioning, and quickly slotted the ball into the bottom corner as Suwannee’s defense was still organizing to defend the kick. With power and precision, the ball sailed into the back of the net, leaving the Suwannee goalkeeper no chance of making a save. The first half ended with both teams eager to continue the battle.

The third quarter saw Suwannee take control of the game, as Eastside shifted to a more defensive formation. Eastside’s defense held strong, thanks in large part to the aggression of Stuve in the net; on multiple occasions he was forced to come out and throw his body into a scrum of players, always emerging with the ball in his hands. It was clear at this point, though, that the game was far from over.

By the final period of the game, both teams were gasping for air. The Rams were dealt a blow when freshman Zion Black was given a yellow card, which forced the player to be substituted. Eastside faced an even bigger setback when key player Jakob Gorham was forced out of the game with a nagging injury he’s been dealing with all season. With time running out, Suwannee was desperate for a miracle, throwing as many as seven players up at once. The final minutes were intense, with both teams leaving it all on the field. But when the final whistle blew, it was Eastside who emerged victorious, securing the district championship with a final score of 2-0.