Warren Central routs Desoto Central for first playoff win since 2010

Published 8:00 am Friday, February 9, 2018

2010. That was the last time the Warren Central boys soccer team had won a postseason game — until Thursday night, when it defeated Desoto Central 7-2 in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.

It didn’t take Warren Central long to get going as its offense sliced through the Jaguars from the opening whistle. The Vikings consistently got their strikers shot attempts on breakaways, and when faced with just a goalie between them and the goal, made the Jaguars pay often.

Warren Central coach Greg Head said a big victory like that was always great.

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“We knew if we could ever get to this top spot then we’d be playing the second place team, but we just felt this was a good matchup for us,” Head said. “We hadn’t played in a week and two days, and we were worried and concerned because it had been a while, and they really played well for having been off so long. So it was good to get that underneath our belt, now we have to rest up for Northwest Rankin, who is our nemesis.”

Warren Central will play at Northwest Rankin in the second round Saturday at 4 p.m. Northwest Rankin advanced with a 1-0 win over Tupelo in the first round.

Just four minutes into Thursday’s game, Hank Holdiness broke away and knocked the ball into the back of the net. Not five minutes later, Braylen Greer scored on an assist from Graham Tweedle.

Even with the 2-0 lead, Warren Central kept the pressure on and set up a corner kick to try and extend its lead. The kick sailed across the field and Tweedle met it with a header and redirected it into the goal. And with just seconds left in the half, the Vikings made it 4-0 as Karsten Keyes scored on an assist from Sean Dixon.

Desoto Central didn’t strike back until the 55th minute, when Ronald Akinsehinwa scored on a penalty kick. The Jaguars scored again in the 59th minute.

From there on, Warren Central (18-3-2) retook control with Greer scoring another goal, and Holdiness scoring two more for a hat trick. One of Holdiness’ goals came on an assist from Greer.

Head loved what he saw from his team on offense and lauded their passing.

“I think they did a great job on the field, working the ball up the field, they just did great,” Head said.

Defensively, Head was pleased but saw some issues that needed to be improved upon to keep moving through the playoffs.

“Our defense, once we got up 4-0, we relaxed a little bit, and made a couple mistakes, which is something we have to work on and make sure that doesn’t happen come Saturday, but other than that everybody played a great game,” Head said. “They were hustling, they were moving, they were working the ball like we’ve been working on, good angled runs, we were excited about how they played.”

Head isn’t expecting quite as many open looks against Northwest Rankin (19-1-2) in the second round, but he still likes what he’s been seeing from his offense. The Vikings had 26 shots on goal compared to only 10 shots for Desoto Central.

“We’re not going to get as many chances to score as we did tonight, but I think we’re hitting some of our shots,” Head said. “I mean we missed a few too many, but we are hitting some.”

When The Vikings take on Northwest Rankin on Saturday they will only have two days to rest up for their rematch, as they lost to the Cougars 3-1 earlier this season. Northwest Rankin has won four consecutive meetings between the teams.

Saturday’s game is at Northwest Rankin, and with rain expected it could be a close, sloppy affair.

“I think these kids wanted Northwest Rankin again,” Head said. “I think they wanted another shot at them.”