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WC boys repeat as division champs

Michael Smith (11) of Warren Central runs by VHS’ Michael Thornton. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[01/17/01] Warren Central avenged an early season loss to the Gators when it really mattered, claiming another Division 3-5A championship, 3-2.

Chase Grogan scored the game-clinching goal on a breakaway midway through the second half and Andy Hite and Greg Carroll each had a goal and an assist for WC (9-5, 2-0 in division play), which outshot VHS 22-8 and won its fourth straight division title and 12th in the last 14 seasons.

Michael Thornton and Lane Campbell each had goals for VHS (6-51, 1-1).

“It’s awesome. I gotta tell you, it’s a great feeling,” said WC coach Jay Harrison, who won four division titles as a player at WC and notched his second title in as many seasons as a coach. “It’s hard to play the type of style of play we like to do, a possession game, but I thought we did an excellent job of getting a lot of crosses in, and I think that caused some problems.”

The Gators beat WC on Dec. 7 thanks behind a big game from goalie Bobby McComas. The senior turned in another big performance Tuesday, stopping 18 shots, but the Vikings put a few where he couldn’t get them.

With the game tied 1-1 and 15 minutes gone in the second half, Hite put a shot on net that was knocked down by McComas but trickled across the goal line to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.

About three minutes later, Grogan gathered in a pass near midfield, took it up the right sideline and lifted a shot over McComas’ head from about 20 yards out to make it 3-1.

Campbell scored on a penalty kick to cut it to 3-2 with about 12 minutes to play, but the Vikings salted the game away by keeping offensive pressure on the Gators for the last 10 minutes.

“They deserve it. They’re celebrating in their locker room while we’re walking away with our heads down. We’ve got to pick them up and fight,” VHS coach Josh Harper said, adding he felt the gap between the Gators and Vikings closed a bit this year. “We’re touching the bar, but we’re just not over it yet. We’ll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start over again and we’ll be all right.”