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ALONSO GETS TO RELISH ENDING YEAR FOR GAITHER

Alonso sophomore Chase Faulmann had a simple explanation for the chippy play during Tuesday's region semifinal against rival Gaither.

"We're friendly," he said with a grin. "But it's Gaither."

The teams had split their previous two meetings, including the Cowboys' dramatic, come-from-behind win in the district title game.

This time, however, the Ravens returned the favor. Alonso scored three second-half goals and held on for a 3-2 win over the host Cowboys.

The result stunned Cowboys (23-3-3) such as senior Darnell King, who sat motionless at midfield, his head buried in his hands, as several Ravens ran toward their raucous student section, waving their jerseys around their heads like a helicopter.

Alonso (23-6-4) moves on to Friday's region final at Ocoee (22-1-3) with a chance for its second straight state semifinal berth.

"We're just happy we ended their season," Ravens senior Tom Turke said.

Turke was a big reason why, tallying a goal and two assists. His biggest point, however, was his first. With Alonso down 1-0 midway through the second half, Turke scored on a header to tie the score; the goal, both teams said, switched the momentum.

Four minutes later, Turke slipped a nifty pass off a set play to Faulmann, who tipped the ball over sprawled-out goalkeeper John Nardozzi. Alonso senior Julio Perez's goal (his 30th) with eight minutes left seemingly put the match out of reach, but Cowboys senior captain Steven Tobon ripped a shot in at the two-minute mark to make things interesting.

"It's a tough loss," Tobon said. "It could have gone either way."

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