Parker in, Thornton out for VHS vs. Tupelo

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 2, 2001

[02/02/01] The Vicksburg High girls got some welcome news Tuesday.

The news was far from welcome for the boys team.

Thirty-goal scorer Brandi Parker will play in the opening round of the state playoffs despite injuring both knees in the Missy Gators’ division win over Warren Central. She has missed the last four games.

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Parker, just a freshman, scored six goals in a 7-1 thumping of the then-No. 1 Wave during the Brandon Tournament in January to move within a dozen of tying Kristin Chapman’s single-season school scoring mark.

“It’s going to be different,” Parker said. “They’re going to be out for blood.”

Parker’s scoring will be needed in the playoff opener between two of the most successful girls programs in the state.

Vicksburg, which missed the playoffs last year after playing in four straight state championship games, finished second in Division 3-5A behind Clinton. Tupelo breezed to the Division 2-5A title.

VHS coach Kevin Manton said he does not anticipate this meeting to resemble the last one.

“I know they remember it,” Manton said. “… They’re good, we all know that. It won’t be anywhere near (the last time). It will be like 3-2, or 2-1, something like that.”

For the Gators (6-7-2), just putting the ball in goal against 6-foot-4, 220-pound keeper Preston Whittington will be a success. He and the four Tupelo defenders have allowed just five goals this season.

Added to that, the Gators will be without leading scorer Michael Thornton, who injured his leg in Saturday’s win over Columbus and is lost for the season. Lane Campbell has also been hobbled by nagging injuries, but is expected to play.

“Our backs are against the wall,” VHS coach Josh Harper said. “… We feel a little like the Saints, but we still have a little left in us.”

The top-ranked Golden Wave (18-1) suffered its only loss to the host team in the Brandon Tournament, 1-0.

“We rely a lot on defense,” said Tupelo coach Danny Porter, who led his team to state championships in 1998 and 1999.

Harper said his defense will be tested as well.

“They are so fast and so precise in their movements,” Harper said of the Wave. “… They never change. Everything they run is executed perfectly.”

The Missy Gators, with a win, will play either Southaven or Callaway on Tuesday. If the Gators beat Tupelo, they will play either Horn Lake, Southaven or Madison Central.