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Thomas sets GAC scoring record
Spartans advance past Calhoun 4-1

NORCROSS - Chris Thomas broke Sam Arthur's season goal record Tuesday night. Next up is Arthur's career mark at Greater Atlanta Christian.

The way Thomas is producing in the playoffs, he may not have to wait until his senior year.

The talented junior has seven goals in GAC's two postseason victories and the defending Class AA/A boys soccer champion has advanced to the state quarterfinals because of it.

The No. 2-ranked Spartans will hit the road on Friday to play No. 15 Dublin, which moved on with a 3-0 victory over Pacelli.

GAC's second-round game with Calhoun was moved up an hour at the visitors' request for travel reasons and any fans arriving late at the Spartan Soccer Sports Complex missed most of the action.

Thomas scored three goals in the first 35 minutes and GAC (17-1) led by four goals at halftime en route to the 4-1 victory over No. 12 Calhoun.

The junior forward has 40 goals on the season - one more than Arthur last season - and 89 for his three-year career. Arthur, now a freshman at South Carolina, had 90 career goals.

The speedy Thomas had 21 goals as a freshman and 28 last season, when he had Arthur to play with. Now, he is the one all opposing defenses are concentration on.

"Sam was an All-American and Chris got a lot of goals because teams were focused on Sam," GAC coach Thom Jacquet said.

"But Chris has picked up right where he left off last year without Sam."

Most of Thomas' goals come just like they did against Calhoun. Give him a little space and look out. The ball will usually end up in the back of the net.

"With his speed, it's very hard to stop him," Jacquet said of Thomas. "All the goals were the same really, just little breakaways, and he usually does well with that."

Calhoun (11-5-1) had upset Union County in the first round, but there would be no road surprise for the Yellow Jackets this time.

Thomas saw to that, scoring his first goal before the game was four minutes old. A second goal came midway in the first half and he completed the hat trick on a feed from Peter Lobona with about five minutes remaining before intermission.

"He has two good feet, he's good in the air and he's got that acceleration, too," Jacquet said. "He's knows what to do. He's composed. Ever since the ninth grade, if he gets the ball with a chance to score, he's going to do well with it. We saw that years ago and he just keeps getting better."

"It feels good (to get the record)," Thomas said. "I'm the main person now. Last year, Sam took the pressure off me. Now I have the pressure. I just try to get the goals for my teammates."

Thomas did all of GAC's scoring in a 4-3 first-round victory over Athens Academy. This game wasn't nearly as close.

"It got the other team down," Thomas said of his three quick goals against Calhoun. "They knew that they were kind of out of it."

Allen Williams scored for GAC with a nifty individual move just before halftime and the second half was basically anticlimactic.

GAC keeper John Max Bolling lost his the shutout bid when Joshua Baue scored for Calhoun with 10 minutes gone in the second half.

The only bad news for GAC was Dublin's victory over Pacelli. A Pacelli victory would have given the Spartans a home game on Friday.

"The wrong team won," Jacquet said.

In GAC's case, though, Thomas saw to it that the right team won again.

The Spartans' only loss was 1-0 to Class AAAAA North Gwinnett early in the season. Neither GAC nor Thomas has been stopped since.