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From Staff Reports
The Greene County men’s soccer team is going to need some good fortune to reach the postseason this year after a disapointing loss to Forrest County AHS on Tuesday.
The Wildcats traveled to Brooklyn in control of their own destiny. They Wildcats entered the match with a 5-2 record, but with East Central breathing down their necks at 4-2. A win over FCAHS would have secured a spot in the playoffs for GCHS as a No. 2 seed. But, with the 3-1 loss on Tuesday, the Cats are going to have to hope for an East Central loss to Vancleave or FCAHS this week in order to make the postseason.
The opportunity for the Cats was set up by two big wins last week. The first came on senior night last Thursday with a double overtime win over the Hornets. The second was a road win on Friday over Poplarville. Coach Paul Martin had hoped the momentum from the emotional wins would carry over, but the Aggies had different plans.
Things weren’t looking good for the Wildcats early on last Thursday either as East Central earned two early goals on what Martin called “sloppy defending” from his team.
However, senior Daniel Zehner scored a goal to pull the score to 1-2 just before halftime.
Despite playing most of the second half a man short after the ejection of a player, the Wildcats were able to stay in the match and force extra time. Senior Alex Henderson scored off an assist by junior Jacob Mitchell making it 2-2. However, a goal by the visitors pushed the score to 2-3 with only 10 minutes left.
Jacob Mitchell connected with his second assist a few minutes later, this time for a goal by older brother Noah Mitchell to knot the score at 3-3.
The brothers connected again in the second overtime, with Noah scoring the winning goal late in the second overtime off an assist by Jacob.
“I was so proud of the boys as we were down twice and fought back despite playing a man down for 60 minutes,” Coach Martin said. “Our seniors stepped up on Senior Night, which was no surprise to me.”
“We were so tired, but gutted out a great result. All the boys played their hearts out and I was a very proud coach.”
Less than 24 hours later, with one player serving a 1-game suspension and several players not at 100 percent, the Cats hit the road to Poplarville. The fatigue didn’t show early as GCHS jumped on the Hornets with two early goals from senior Daniel Zehner off assists from Jacob Mitchell.
GCHS kept the lead into the half, but were outscored 2-1 in the second half as Poplarville assured itself of at least a tie-breaking win for the District Championship. It appeared the Cats would spoil that celebration, however, as Noah Mitchell put a header in the net for what would have been a championship scoring goal. But, the referee called a foul on the play and took away the goal.
Martin did not like the ref’s decision, but said he was still very pleased with the way his team competed.
“I’m so proud of our boys who had their backs against the wall and came up big when we needed it,” Martin said.
GCHS girls out of playoff race
Losses last week to East Central and Poplarville pushed the Lady Wildcats out of contention for the playoffs this season. Individual results from those two games were not available prior to press time.