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Lady Cats currently in second place, but still have work to do to lock up playoff spot
By RUSSELL TURNER – Herald Editor
The Greene County men’s soccer team secured a playoff berth on Monday with a huge road win at Purvis.
The 2-0 win was the second for the Wildcats this season over the Tornadoes and pushed GCHS to a 3-2 record in Region 7-4A with just one game remaining on the region schedule. Poplarville, at 4-0 on the season, has secured the regular season championship and the region’s No. 1 playoff seed. Purvis, who GCHS has beaten twice, and Forrest County AHS, who the Cats finish up the region schedule against on Thursday, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Wildcats earned the win on Monday with goals by juniors Rhett Brewer and Dalton Hicks. Senior Daniel Pridgen had an assist in the match.
“We started out fast as Daniel Pridgen assisted Dalton Hicks with a beautiful through ball and Dalton finished it well, giving the Purvis keeper no chance,” Martin said. “We moved the ball well all night. Jeremiah Gay and Logan Smith put their back line under a lot of pressure. Jack Tungett combined well with Austin and his fellow teammates.”
“Purvis works very hard and they have a couple guys up top that are dangerous. But, our back line, led by Bryceton Havard, Trey Roberts, Hunter McMillon and Austin Davis cleared the danger. We are getting Eli Parker back to health which is huge as Eli can play multiple positions well for us. Luke Barfield was solid again as usual.”
Monday’s win followed a 1-1 non-region record for the Wildcats in their first week back from Christmas break. They lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Presbyterian Christian last Thursday, but followed that up with a big confidence-booster on Saturday against Quitman. The Cats trounced the visiting Panthers 7-0, thanks in large part by senior Logan Smith’s 3-goal hat trick in the match. Brewer added two goals, while Pridgen and eighth grader Dawson Thurston each added goals.
“We dominated the play and were under no threat,” GCHS Head Coach Paul Martin said of his team’s Saturday win. “Our defense has been solid all year and this has been a bright spot for us.”
“Bryceton Havard, Trey Roberts, Eli Parker and Austin Davis have all done well. Also, Hunter McMillon has stepped up for us back there. Hunter can play all over the field which is very helpful.”
The Cats had a strong defensive showing against PCS last week as well, but dropped a 1-0 decision after PCS converted a controversial penalty kick in the second half.
“PCS converted and that was the only goal of the game,” Martin added. “We struggled to put a consistent attack on their goal. The game was very even and we felt very hard done by the PK but that’s soccer.”
“Daniel Pridgen and Jack Tungett were solid in the midfield. Logan Smith and Jeremiah Gay always play so hard, but for our first game back it was predictable that we would be rusty.”
Shorthanded GCHS girls drop tough one at Purvis
On the girls’ side, the Lady Cats failed to lock in their playoff spot on Monday due to a loss in overtime to the Lady Tornadoes. They remain in a strong position with a 3-2 region record and current No. 2 region ranking, but need to take care of business on Thursday against FCAHS. A win over the Lady Aggies will lock in the second place finish and keep a potential first-place finish in play.
The loss to Purvis on Monday was a tough one with two key players (juniors Bailey Csaszar and
Dillian Lavinghouse) out of the lineup due to illness. Despite a first-half goal by senior Lisa Johnson, the Lady Cats trailed 2-1 at the half. They tied things up with a nice shot on a free kick by senior Kaylee Chaffin in the second half, but could not get a go-ahead goal in regulation. The two teams played two overtime periods without a goal, but Purvis came out on top thanks to penalty kicks.
The Lady Cats had an easy 6-0 win over Quitman on Saturday with Johnson and Csaszar scoring two goals apiece. Junior Anna Pridgen and senior McKenna Daley also scored one goal each.
Both teams played Perry Central in non-region action on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time. Both will also honor their senior players on Thursday.