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Greene County’s boys soccer team kicked off region play in style Monday evening with a 5-0 shutout win over Forest County Ag. The Wildcats leaped ahead early and never looked back in a strong start to what head coach Paul Martin and his squad hope to be successful run through Region 7-4A competition.
The Wildcats were on the attack early and often on offense, with Dalton Hicks scoring in the opening minutes of action on an assist from Jerry Franks. Franks offered up a second assist for a goal scored by Noah Eason only minutes later. The seasonal “spirit of giving” spread from there, with Eason assisting on a goal by Eli Parker and Hicks delivering an assist on a goal by Franks to give Greene County a commanding 4-0 lead entering halftime.
With the game well in hand, the Wildcats cruised to victory through a mostly uneventful second half, with one final goal scored by Daniel Pridgen to lift his squad to a 5-0 home win. While scoring goals in bulk certainly goes a long way towards securing wins, head coach Paul Martin believed it was his team’s tremendous effort on defense that ultimately created opportunities for the Wildcats to pull away for such a big win.
“Our backline did a much better job of clearing dangerous balls, and Orlando Polk and Oscar Whalen did a good job of winning the midfield battle and denying their top players from getting on the ball,” Martin explained. “Luke Barfield recorded a great save in the second half as well. We’re improving and looking forward to Thursday’s district game at Purvis.”
The Wildcats will be the first district opponent for the Purvis Tornadoes, who enter Thursday’s contest with a record of 5-5-2. The Tornadoes snapped a 4-game losing streak on Tuesday with a draw in a game against Columbia, and they’ll be eager to start off district play with a home win in similar fashion to the Wildcats. Martin said the key for his team will be maintaining consistency and competing at a high level against each and every opponent, regardless of their place in the standings.
“We need to focus on finishing and pressing them into mistakes,” Martin said concerning Thursday’s contest. “We can’t overlook any opponent. Purvis is in our district, and we need to come away with a win and momentum leading into our last district game before the Christmas break.”
Overall, Martin said he’s pleased with the progress the Wildcats have made throughout region play, with younger members of the team continuing to learn and grow as significant pieces to their puzzle on the pitch.
“We’re getting better, but with having to replace four starters we have shown our youth and growing pains,” Martin said. “We’re hoping to finish strong like last season, but we must put in the work and keep focused on our development.”
Following Thursday’s contest, the Wildcats will wrap up the fall semester with a third district contest on their home field Monday night against Poplarville. A win would allow Greene County to bring in the New Year with a wave of momentum in their favor as an early front-runner in the Region 7-4A standings.
“We hope to have a big crowd,” Martin said in closing. “Please come support the Wildcats!”