WC pair teaming up for one last soccer game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

[6/19/03]For three years, Hunter Sumerall and Greg Carroll have complemented each other on the soccer field with a mix of styles that has served Warren Central well.

Sumerall is the quiet midfielder who impresses with his steady play. Carroll is a goal-scoring striker who dazzles with flashy runs. Together, they gave the Vikings punch and helped the team to a couple of playoff appearances.

On Saturday, the duo will team up one last time for fun and goals at the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Soccer Game at Hinds Community College.

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The girls’ all-star game begins at 5 p.m., with the boys’ game following at 7. Admission to both games is $5.

In addition to Sumerall and Carroll, St. Aloysius’ Joe Theobald will represent Warren County in the boys’ game. Vicksburg High star Brandi Head and WC’s Alisha Lawrence will play in the girls’ game.

“I just want to go out there and have fun, and get to play with some friends from some other schools like Clinton and Oak Grove,” Carroll said. “I think it’s going to be real fun. I’d like to end on a good note.”

Carroll’s high school career had enough good notes to put together a catchy song, and Sumerall played a big part as the conductor.

From his midfield spot, Sumerall helped guide the WC attack.

He didn’t get a lot of scoring opportunities or assists, but helped keep things together defensively and often started plays that resulted in offensive pressure and scoring chances.

“Hunter wasn’t flashy, but he didn’t make mistakes. He set up a lot of things for us,” WC coach Jay Harrison said. “Greg was well-known around the state because he scored a lot of goals. Then they forgot about Hunter, and Hunter is back there setting things up.”

Sumerall’s efforts didn’t go completely unnoticed. In addition to the all-star selection, he received several scholarship offers from junior colleges. A knee injury kept him from accepting any offers, but he plans to attend Mississippi State in the fall and may play on a club team there.

“I tore my ACL in my 11th grade year, and I didn’t think it would be ready to stand up to playing on a college level. But I did have a couple of offers from junior colleges,” Sumerall said.

The grunt work that Sumerall did paid off for Carroll and WC’s other scorers. Three Vikings scored at least 10 goals last season, led by Carroll’s 14.

Using his speed and natural athletic ability, Carroll was able to blow by many defenders and keep them at bay with his ballhandling skills. It was the perfect complement to Sumerall’s blue-collar style, Sumerall said.

“Greg, he’s really fast and very aggressive when he’s around the ball. If you put the ball anywhere near him he’ll get it,” Sumerall said. “I usually concentrate on placement and where I want the ball to go. It works pretty well.”

While Sumerall’s skills often helped, Carroll was able to do plenty on his own, too. He was an all-county player in three sports football, soccer, and baseball. He signed to play soccer at Mississippi Delta, and will also try to walk on to the baseball team there.

Playing so many sports often keeps athletes from becoming a truly elite player in any one, but Carroll said each complemented the other.

“I think it helped me,” he said. “Playing football made my leg stronger, and playing (baseball) in the summer kept me in shape.”

And now that his primary focus will be on soccer, Harrison said Carroll will only continue to get better in that sport.

“He is just a great athlete. He’s going to do a great job wherever he ends up,” Harrison said. “Being the athlete he was, being able to play three sports, he has not reached his full potential.”