Second-ranked Cougars unload on Vicksburg, 5-2

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

(1/24/04)Second-ranked Northwest Rankin lived up to its billing Friday night.

The Cougars disposed of Vicksburg 5-2 a playoff tuneup for both squads.

The Gators (7-7-2) did not attempt a shot on goal until midway through the second half, and both scores came with each team’s starters on the sidelines.

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“I felt like my bench players came in and played with a lot of heart,” VHS coach Casey Smith said. “They’re the reason why we got those other two goals. I was really impressed with their ability at such a young age.”

It didn’t take long for the Cougars (17-3-3) to hit the back of the net.

Lee Permenter knocked in a deflection off a throw-in to give NW Rankin a 1-0 lead. Kevin Conerly followed soon after with a rocket shot from about 25 yards out.

Zach Scott gave the Cougars a a three-score advantage on a penalty kick that just got by diving VHS goalie Jay Griffing.

“I think we could have played better,” Griffing said. “But that was about what I was expecting.”

Tommy Whitten closed out the first-half barrage by drilling in a deflected ball for a 4-0 halftime lead.

“It was a long week for us,” NW Rankin coach Chris Gardner said. “We played Brandon and Clinton this week prior to this one, so I was a little worried that we’d come out flat, but I thought we handled things pretty well early.”

Jimmy Daniels ended NW Rankin’s offensive efforts early in the second half before Vicksburg finally got a shot off. The Cougars outshot the Gators 8-0 in the first half and 19-5 overall.

“If we played with heart all the time, we would be a lot better than we are,” Smith said. “That’s just one of our issues, we need some heart.”

Matt Minyard ended the shutout bid midway through the second half when he sneaked past the the defense to receive a pass and a wide-open net.

Raymond Perrier followed with a deflection goal close to the net.

“Vicksburg is an improving team, but right now we’re just a little too deep for them,” Gardner said.

(G) NW Rankin 3, Vicksburg 0

Playing without its top two scorers, fifth-ranked Vicksburg had trouble putting together any offense against No. 4 Northwest Rankin.

VHS coach Kevin Manton chose to rest banged-up players Holly Head and Brandi Parker, who have combined for 61 goals and 37 assists this season. But Manton made no excuses for the loss Vicksburg’s second consecutive shutout.

“We’re just kind of in a funk right now,” he said.

The Lady Cougars (21-4) controlled the ball through most of the first half, muscling their way to outshoot the Missy Gators 8-3. NW Rankin outshot Vicksburg 13-7 in the game.

“Both teams just tried some stuff out to get ready for the playoffs,” NW Rankin coach Montgomery Hinton said.

(G) Warren Central 5, Murrah 0

Mary Clare Scurria scored four goals and Kara Cretsinger added one score as the Lady Vikes (10-10-1) blanked Murrah in their final tuneup before Tuesday’s playoff opener at Pascagoula.

Valera Vollor and Liza Kate Chaney each had an assist in the shutout.

Warren Central was playing without four starters who are either out for the season or nursing injuries.

Despite being shorthanded, the Lady Vikes outshot the Lady Mustangs, 24-0.

Warren Central will travel to the Gulf Coast on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. game against the Division 7-5A champion Lady Panthers.

(B) Warren Central 4, Murrah 0

Eike Duen scored two goals and Allen Carlisle added a goal and an assist as the Vikings (13-5-1) recorded their ninth shutout of the season.

Josh Rushing added a second-half goal after WC took a 3-0 lead into halftime.

“We rested some guys and the young guys did a good job for us,” said WC coach Jay Harrison, who ended the regular season with the best record since he became the Vikings’ head coach.

Warren Central will open the Class 5A state playoffs at home Tuesday against Ocean Springs at 6 p.m.

(B) St. Aloysius 7, Forest Hill 0

Michael Head notched four goals to lead the Flashes (6-11-1) past Forest Hill.

Bern Ebersole, Harris Martin and Jett Wells each added a goal for St. Al in its season finale.

Patrick Karel and Adam Fulcher combined at goal keeper for the shutout.

(G) St. Aloysius 6, Forest Hill 0

Andrea Harrison turned in a hat trick as the Lady Flashes finished with a 10-10 record in their inaugural season.

Krista McCollum added a pair of goals, and Abby Arledge scored once and tended goal during the shutout.