St. Al advances to Class AAA soccer semifinals
Published 9:02 am Tuesday, February 21, 2017
By Emmalee Molay
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — St. Aloysius did everything it needed to do to push its way past Adams County Christian School in the first round of the MAIS Class AAA boys soccer playoffs Monday.
St. Al’s Gradon Bourne scored two goals in the final 10 minutes, giving his team the upper hand to defeat ACCS, 4-1, and send them on to the semifinals Thursday.
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“In a game like this, it is what it is,” St. Al coach Scott Mathis said. “It’s a hard fought battle. I’m proud of the way they played.”
St. Al advanced to face Central Hinds on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Raymond. The Flashes lost twice to Central Hinds this season, 5-4 in Raymond and 6-0 in Vicksburg. Central Hinds has won the last three Class AAA championships and is riding a 58-game winning streak after beating Laurel Christian in the first round on Monday.
The state championship game is Saturday.
“I have soccer boys,” Mathis said. “Once they are on the field, I typically don’t have to do much.”
Bourne’s first shot opportunity came from a penalty kick, and the second off a free kick.
“He just buried them in the back of the net,” ACCS coach Jim Bob Allgood said.
St. Al was first to score on a breakaway from Jack Dowe just seven minutes into the game.
After ACCS goalkeeper Jacob McDaniel booted a save halfway downfield creating an open opportunity for Cristofer Thompson, the Rebels were able to tie the game late in the first half, 1-1.
St. Al responded, however, by punching in a second easy goal from Dowe in the final minute of the first half, giving it the 2-1 halftime advantage.
Dowe usually plays on defense, but St. Al was missing five starters from the lineup. Mathis said Dowe’s fast pace was vital in the win.
“We didn’t know we would have to play like that until during the game because we’ve never played (ACCS),” Mathis said. “(Dowe) can play anywhere I need him. Once we had that fast break it opened up the opportunity to score.”
Although Thompson’s goal was the last time Adams Christian found the net, it never gave up.
Senior Kyle Williams took multiple shots on goal in the second half in an attempt to get the Rebels into a late rhythm.
“I was giving everything I had,” he said. “My legs were giving out, but one goal would have meant the world to me. Just one.”
St. Aloysius at Central Hinds
Thursday, 3 p.m.
MAIS Class AAA semifinals