by Hunter Dawkins
The Long Beach Boys and Girls Soccer swept the scoreboards at Lumpkin Magee Stadium, returning back to the Mississippi High Schools Athletic Association (MHSAA) 5A South State Championships after winning their respective games. This is the first time in the history of the Bearcats soccer program that both teams return to the South State Championships in the same year.
GIRLS: Long Beach 1 South Jones 0
Despite appearing uncomfortable on the field, the Lady Bearcats (14-6-2) came through to beat the South Jones Lady Braves 1-0. “We did not play our best,” said Long Beach Girls Soccer Coach Haley Hammons. “South Jones got us out of our game at times and we need to work on preparation for Tuesday game now.”
After scoring the goal that would be the only one in front of a packed field, the Lady Bearcats pulled through even without another close opportunity to score. “Unfortunately, we had to hang on and win,” said Hammons. “You never want to do that.”
The Lady Bearcats will play the winner of the West Jones/West Harrison match for their second consecutive birth in the 5A MHSAA State Championship.
BOYS: Long Beach 2 West Jones 1
In a more offensive minded shootout, the Long Beach Bearcats (12-4-2) aggressively triggered ball control on their side of the field. Not until the Bearcats Senior Captain Chase Dedeaux put a deflection through the net with 3 minutes left in the first period, was anyone close. This score gave Long Beach a 1-0 lead going into the halftime intermission.
Returning from the break, the Bearcats were out of place for the first twenty minutes defensively succumbing to penalties, At the 20th minute, Long Beach fouled an offensive player inside the penalty box. Once the official called the penalty, the Mustangs converted the penalty kick through the net to tie the score.
Losing momentum, the Bearcats played great defense and held West Jones to awkward shots on goal.
Suddenly, the Bearcats Junior Midfielder Stanley Trzaska got the ball in a scoring position and put it threw the net. This set the lead to 2-1 Long Beach with just under nine minutes.
Bearcat Defenders Carson Favre and Noah Shockley built a wall the Mustangs couldn’t break for the amount of time left and Long Beach secured its consecutive appearance in South State.
Long Beach will play Tuesday night against the winner of the West Harrison/Laurel game.
Long Beach Boys AND Girls won South State last year and both lost State last year.