Bruins win,’ Gators lose’ in tie

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2001

James Crawley, right, of Vicksburg High and Madison-St. Joe’s Victor Cobb go for the ball at midfield. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

[01/10/01] The final 13 minutes of Vicksburg High’s match with Madison St. Joe was as unusual as the first 67 minutes were routine.

The two teams combined for six goals the final three by the Irish in a 3-3 tie on a bitterly cold night at Memorial Stadium.

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“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this,” said St. Joe coach David Wissell, whose team moved to 6-3-2.

Michael Thornton, who was undercut and landed hard on his back 21 minutes into the second half, led a Gators’ charge that netted three goals in a four-minute span to give VHS (6-4-1) a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead with less than nine minutes to go.

Thornton netted two goals and Jeremy Johnson had a goal sandwiched in between for the 3-0 lead. VHS coach Josh Harper then began using younger players.

“We let our younger guys into the game to get some experience and the older guys out there didn’t step up,” Harper said. “I regard this as a loss.”

After Thornton’s second goal with 8:47 left, freshman Henry Lawrance scored the Bruins’ first goal a minute and a half later.

Standout Matt Nicosia was held scoreless until the 38:26 mark when he converted a penalty kick to pull St. Joe within one.

A throw-in from the St. Joe sideline about 40 yards from the goal landed perfectly for freshman Randy Grimes, who beat VHS goalie Bobby McComas 13 seconds into extra time for the tie. McComas had 10 saves.

“These guys never give up,” Wissell said. “Our goal coming into this game was to play well against a bigger school and we did that. When you play bigger schools, a tie is like a win.”

Harper said after the Gators took the big lead, they started thinking about Tuesday’s division showdown with Warren Central.

“I’m not as stunned as I am ticked off,” Harper said. “This shouldn’t have happened, a Class 1A doing that to us. Take away those 12 minutes and we played great … St. Joe never gave up. We did, they didn’t.”

James Crawley and Russell Morrison each had an assist for Vicksburg. The final goal, a breakaway by Thornton, was unassisted.

(G) VHS 3, St. Joe 1

It took the Missy Gators (10-3) 78 minutes and 38 seconds to put away St. Joe (6-2) while outshooting the Lady Bruins 45-6.

Brandi Parker had two second-half goals to upend the Lady Bruins.

Brandi Head scored Vicksburg’s first goal nine minutes into the first half after the Lady Bruins scored on their first shot.

“We played well, controlled the ball and the game,” VHS coach Kevin Manton said. “We had a little trouble finishing, but … they played well.”

Sarah Martin made 23 saves for the Lady Bruins, but allowed Parker’s game-winner after the two collided going for a header and the ball trickled into the net.

The VHS defense did not allow the visitors to cross midfield in the second half until 15 minutes in. St. Joe attempted just three shots in each half, but Alex Trifone drilled a shot into the back of the net just seven minutes into the game for a quick 1-0 lead.

“We knew coming in what a good team Vicksburg had,” said St. Joe coach Dwyane Demmin, a Trinidad and Tobago native whose team’s only other loss was to Class 5A power Madison Central. “We played well, but we couldn’t score on them.”