by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

For the fourth consecutive year, the Long Beach Bearcats Boys soccer team earned a trip to the 2021 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) 5A State Championship game after beating the South Jones Braves 4-1 Tuesday night at the Lumpkin Magee Stadium in Long Beach.

“I’m glad we made it through south state this year with all of the circumstances that surrounded this year,” said Long Beach Boys Head Soccer Coach Andee Wilbun.  “Having all the kids buy in to the program and set expectations for themselves is what helps out a lot.”

Coming out of the gates early, South Jones aggressively attacked by scoring a goal in the first minute of the contest.  Fortunately for Long Beach, this was the only goal that would allowed where the Bearcats Midfielder Ethan Myers immediately tied the score on the next possession.

Near the end of the first half, the Bearcats found gaps in the Braves defense as Long Beach Forward Carlos Torres and Myers again knocked in goals after stoppage to finish the half 3-1.

In the second half, the Bearcats never lost control.  Even with a few close calls, the Bearcats defense and Goalkeeper Justin Rolison kept the net secure.

At the 5:30 mark left, Long Beach Forward Torres was fouled inside the penalty box.  Torres converted the kick for a 4-1 lead and their trip to the state title again at the Brandon High School Field for the MHSAA 5A State Title.

The Bearcats (10-2-1) will play in a rematch against the Center Hill Mustangs from Olive Branch on Saturday, February 6 at 6pm.  Center Hill defeated New Hope 8-1 in the MHSAA 5A North State Title game.

The Mustangs won the 2020 state title 2-1 over Long Beach and have won six games in a row heading to the state title.