Clinton nips VHS in 2nd OT; Gators won’t make playoffs

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2002

Josh Turner of Vicksburg High keeps the ball away from a Clinton player. The Arrows won, 5-0.(The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[01/18/02]Vicksburg coach Kevin Manton and Clinton coach Thomas Bobo are convinced the two teams will see each other again in the South State Championship game.

If that turns out to be anything like Thursday night, it should be a doozy.

Clinton eighth-grader Nicki Bush scored seven minutes into the second 10-minute overtime to upend the No. 4 Missy Gators, 1-0.

Barring a Warren Central upset of the No. 2 Lady Arrows, Vicksburg (13-2, 2-1 Division 6-5A) will travel for the first round of the playoffs, most likely to Oak Grove.

Clinton (14-4, 1-0 Division 6-5A), with a win over the Lady Vikes on Tuesday, will host its first playoff game on Jan. 29. The playoff format changed this year and the first three games are on campus, while the state championship will be Feb. 9.

“This is just another Vicksburg-Clinton game,” said Bobo, whose team will win the division with a win over WC. “They’ve had a great year, we’ve had a great year and I expect we’ll see each other again before its over.”

Thursday night’s game was dominated by strong defensive efforts especially sweepers Brandi Head of Vicksburg and Clinton’s Michelle Pierce.

Pierce almost gave the Lady Arrows the lead 20 minutes into the second half on a 40-yard shot that hit goalkeeper Viola Howard’s hands and bounced over her head. Somehow, Howard stopped the shot before it crossed the goal line.

“We thought we had one earlier,” Bobo said. “We thought it was a goal, but of course we’re gonna say that we think it is.”

The pair helped keep the teams scoreless for almost 97 minutes before Bush, on an assist from Megan Meeks, slipped a shot past Howard.

“I don’t know how she got free, but she was one-on-one with the keeper,” Manton said of the game-winner. “You hate it, but it has happened before. We played good enough to win, it just didn’t happen.”

Vicksburg is scheduled to play Florence today at Memorial Stadium at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Missy Gators will host Greenvilleat 2 p.m. A trip to top-ranked Brandon is set for Tuesday.

Manton said he will sit out several players this weekend. Neely Nasif, who was nursing a knee injury suffered a week ago, will not play today, Manton said. Several others with minor injuries are also questionable.

“We have three or four that probably won’t play at all,” Manton said. “We’ll just go from there.”

(B) Clinton 5, VHS 0

The Arrows (11-7, 1-0) used a four-goal second half to eliminate the Gators (6-7-2, 1-2) from the playoffs.

Clinton and Warren Central will square off Tuesday with the division title and a home playoff opener on the line.

“We didn’t play like one of the top 16 teams in the state,” Vicksburg coach Josh Harper said. “We didn’t earn our reward.”

Clinton led 1-0 at the half, but took the opening tip and using a formation similar to an onside kick in football, tracked down a long pass and scored 20 seconds into the second half.

“That shocked us,” Harper said.

The Arrows added three more second-half goals for the shutout.

Justin Brent, Kyle Howe, Jeremy Stringer, Drew Zigler and Drew Mellon each scored for Clinton.