That was the only thing on the mind of Philadelphia forward J.H. Smith while lining for a penalty kick with four minutes left and his team tied with Forest 2-2. Smith, who had connected on a penalty kick earlier in the second half to tie the game stood a mere 12 yards away from winning the game and advancing to the Class 1A/2A/3A North State championship.
“My only thought was make this next goal,” Smith said. “The last one was definitely more pressure than the first one, but I shot the same shot and just said to myself do the same thing you did last time.”
Just as before, Smith found the back of the net, allowing Philly to beat Forest 3-2 and secure a date with South Pontotoc on Tuesday with a trip to Clinton for the state championship on the line.
“That was an unbelievable game,” Philadelphia coach Adam Huddleston said. “I don’t know if I have seen anything like that this season. The effort after the 15 minute mark, we just poured everything into it. I am so proud of my boys today, so proud.”
Forest struck first in the game’s seventh minute when the Bearcats buried a penalty kick in the back of the net to go up 1-0.
From there, both teams would generate opportunities. Philly almost connected on a set-piece opportunity midway through the first half, when Abe Mars broke free in the box but was unable to convert.
The Tornadoes received their first goal on another set-piece opportunity in the 27th minute mark for midfield, as Smith lifted the ball into the box, finding forward T.J. Hudson for the equalizer.
The celebration would not last long for the Tornadoes, as Forest responded six minutes later with its second goal when a mixup in the box allowed the Bearcats to knock in an easy shot. Forest headed into the break with a 2-1 lead.
The Bearcats shut down Philly until 16 minutes into the second half,when Mars slipped past the defense for a break away into the box. Mars was unable to finish the play though, as his shot ricocheted off the right post and back into play.
However, Philly was dealt another break instantaneously. In the process of trying to clear the ball, the Bearcats committed a penalty in the box, allowing Smith to step up for the first of two big penalty conversions on the afternoon.
“Normally in games like this it’s going to come down to penalty kicks either way,” Huddleston said. “Everybody knew both teams were going to be prepared for this game. This has always been a big rivalry for both schools.”
After Smith put the Tornadoes up 3-2 in the games final minutes, Forest stormed back for one last opportunity.
The Bearcats almost pulled the equalizer in stoppage time, when Philadelphia keeper Malek Moore slipped while in the box, leaving the left corner of the goal exposed. Forest was unable to convert, however, as its shot sailed wide left of the goal, securing the win for the Tornadoes.
“Please clear the ball, was the thought going through my head,” Huddleston said. “That’s all I could think of, get the ball out or get it out of bounds.”
Philly will now host South Pontotoc on Tuesday with only two wins separating the team from a state championship.
“It unbelievable,” Smith said. “I never expected us to get this far. Last year we were so good, and playing in the summer we weren’t as good. Now we have made it this far. We just got to keep playing and keep getting the objective done.”
Newton County beats Houston 10-0 to claim 7th fast-pitch championshi
Players from Newton County’s dugout barely made it to the foul line before a celebratory dogpile ensued here Saturday. Indeed, winning never gets old.
The Lady Cougars blanked Houston 10-0 Saturday at Freedom Ridge Park, completing an easy sweep of their best-of-three, Class 4A State Championship Series and gaining a measure of revenge after falling short a year ago.
Rockets roar by East Central, claim 5A crown
Trae Embry took somewhat of a gamble when he accepted the softball
coaching job at Neshoba Central -- leaving his hometown and his comfort zone for a
- Newton County wins state
Enterprise falls twice to East Webster
It just wasn't to be.
After 16 innings of big plays and tense moments, the Enterprise Lady Bulldogs fell just short of their third MHSAA Class 2A State Fast-Pitch Softball Championship on Saturday, dropping a 3-1 decision in the decisive game three. But EHS head coach Davey Dewitt said he was pleased with the way his team played, battling East Webster to the last out.
Richmond leaves Clarkdale for Neshoba Central
Former Clarkdale High School head football coach Chris Richmond is leaving the team to serve as a position coach at Neshoba Central next season. Richmond, who went 1-21 in his two seasons as the Bulldogs head coach said the move to Neshoba will help him stay closer to his family
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.
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- Newton County beats Houston 10-0 to claim 7th fast-pitch championshi