VHS uses pair of Brandis to beat Oak Grove

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 30, 2002

[01/30/02]OAK GROVE Brandi Head’s performance Tuesday night would make the most seasoned cleaning crew drop their brooms and gasp for breath.

The Vicksburg junior sweeper controlled the defensive end of the field and had a pair of assists to Brandi Parker to lead the Missy Gators (16-2) to a 3-1 win over the Lady Warriors (12-6-3).

“The sweeper was the difference, there is no doubt,” said Oak Grove coach Clay Smith, who fell to 0-2 in playoff games against Vicksburg. “We haven’t faced anyone this year that could clear the ball downfield like she did.”

Not allowing Oak Grove any offense only three shots after scoring a goal two minutes into the game was only part of Head’s highlight-reel night.

Halfway through the first half, Head launched a free kick from the 30-yard line perfectly to Parker who headed the ball past Lady Warriors’ goalie Ashton Long to knot the game at one.

“That was basically a chip over the defenders, but it had never worked before,” Head said. “I never thought it would work twice.”

Obviously, neither did Long.

Ten minutes later, this time from the 40-yard line, Head and Parker connected on almost the same play for what proved to be the game-winning score.

“I didn’t think she’d fall for it again,” said Parker, who, on both occasions, headed the ball in the opposite corner of where Long was lunging. “It worked though.”

And, as has been the case in five of the last six years, the Missy Gators are one step closer to playing for a state championship.

VHS will play Biloxi at Memorial Stadium on Saturday and will be rooting for Clinton to beat Gulfport, also on Saturday.

Game time for Saturday’s game will be determined today, Manton said.

If Clinton and Vicksburg both win Saturday, Clinton will have to travel to Vicksburg for the South State championship next week.

Things early on were not so rosy for Vicksburg. Allison Roberts scored minutes into the game on a wide-open shot from about 15 yards out for a quick 1-0 lead.

“We really wanted to come out strong and hope to catch them asleep,” said Smith, whose team lost to Vicksburg in the 1999 state championship game. “We got that goal two minutes into the game, but after that we couldn’t get anything past the sweeper.”

The Lady Warriors attempted three shots the rest of the night, but only one was a real threat to reach the net.

“I was hoping the girls wouldn’t overlook them and I warned them about it,” Vicksburg coach Kevin Manton said. “They were better than I was told they were. We can’t underestimate any of our opponents.”

With the Oak Grove offense nonexistent, the Missy Gators peppered Long with 19 shots, but only had a one-goal lead until late in the second half.

Freshman Laura Johnston lofted a shot on an assist from Parker over Long’s head with 13 minutes left in the game for the game’s final goal.