One season after nine seniors, including seven starters, led the Clarkdale girls soccer team to its first state championship appearance, the Bulldogs returned to the Class 1A/2A/3A North State championship game. Clarkdale earned that berth with a 6-1 rout of visiting McLaurin at Chris Mabry Field on Saturday. The Bulldogs will host South Pontotoc on Tuesday for the North State title after the Cougars beat Choctaw Central 3-2 in overtime.
“It’s big,” Clarkdale coach Lea Castleberry said. “After losing nine seniors, a lot of people didn’t have a lot of faith in us. But I think these girls have proved that they can go back.”
Leading that charge for the Bulldogs was a senior in Kayla Phillips. One day after signing with Meridian Community College, Phillips put her arsenal on display as she netted a hat trick in guiding Clarkdale past the Tigers. But Phillips had helps as Haley Dupre’ scored a pair and Kristen Mitchell tacked on a goal as well. Reagan Dupre’ added an assist.
“It’s a team effoft and we all have to play, top to bottom,” Castleberry said. “We talk about it every day, top to bottom everybody has to work and everybody has to contribute. Even the people on the bench have to contribute in some way.”
Still it was Phillips that gave the Bulldogs the big lift. Leading 2-0 late in the first half, McLaurin had found its offense as it started peppering Clarkdale keeper Molly McLeod with shots only to be stuffed by the junior. Then with 8:42 remaining before intermission, Phillips got a turnover and drilled a low shot into the McLaurin net for a confidence-boosting 3-0 lead.
“We talked about not quitting, ever,” Clarkdale assistant Steve Dennis said. “And I think that third goal really helped us. It gave us some momentum and after that we started playing our game.”
Added Castleberry: “It gave us confidence in our game.”
Phillips earlier had given Clarkdale a 2-0 lead little more than 12 minutes in. The Bulldogs scored first off a Dupre’ goal off a corner kick.
Up 3-0 at half, the Bulldogs continued to attack. Not quite two minutes into the second half, Mitchell scored into an empty net after the Tigers’ keeper missed on a long pass. And seven minutes later, Dupre rebounded her own miss to put Clarkdale up 5-0.
Phillips then recorded her hat trick with 17:10 remaining as she lofted a shot from the left sideline about 25 yards away and dropped it into the right corner of the goal. McLaurin’s Kenzie Jenkins scored the Tigers’ lone goal with 15:30 to go.
New-look Bulldogs making return trip to North State
Neshoba Central shuts out East Central 8-0
Neshoba Central’s last two rounds of the state softball playoffs involved grueling series wins over Lake Cormorant and New Hope. And while no one knows what today holds in the Class 5A State Championship Series, the Lady Rockets zipped through East Central like a hot knife through butter in Ridgeland Friday night.
Enterprise tops East Webster 6-3
Just one more win.
That's how far away the Enterprise Lady Bulldogs are from closing out an amazing season. After beginning the year 4-8, EHS has won 15 of their last 19 games, including Friday afternoon's 6-3 win over East Webster in the MHSAA Class 2A Fast-Pitch Softball Championships.
Newton County romps Houston 16-3
In the second inning of the opening game of their best-of-three, Class 4A State Championship Series, Newton County left the bases loaded without pushing across a run and coach Justin Chaney said he was worried his squad wasn’t taking advantage of a key opportunity.
Upton, Braves slam Dodgers 8-5
Justin Upton gave Atlanta the lead with a sixth-inning grand slam and the Braves finally unveiled their full-strength lineup, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 on Friday night.
Enterprise in search of 3rd fast-pitch title
Davey Dewitt has accomplished a lot in his first year as head softball coach at Enterprise High School. After a runner-up performance in 2A slow-pitch last fall, Enterprise and Dewitt have returned to the state championships in fast-pitch.
Orb has gone from ordinary to extraordinary
Growing up, Kentucky Derby winner Orb was just another horse who fit in with the crowd.
Never caused problems. Never raised a ruckus. Never got sick or hurt while frolicking in the fields of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky., with his pals, or when he was learning how to be a racehorse at Niall Brennan's farm in Ocala, Fla. Did everything asked of him.
- Newton County wins Game 1 over Stanislaus
- Swim team takes 10 gold medals
Knights come up short
Down a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the tying run standing on second base, West Lauderdale's Will Stokes stepped up to the plate ––Jerry Boatner Field was rocking.
Two pitches later, as Stokes lined out to first base to end the game, no one said a word.
- MSU to eclipse 5-million mark at Dudy Noble Field tonight
- More Sports Headlines
- Neshoba Central shuts out East Central 8-0