Flashes have uneven early-season outing vs. Jackson Academy

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

JACKSON — In a couple of months, when the St. Aloysius Flashes are hip deep in another state championship run, Monday’s game against Jackson Academy won’t mean a thing. It’ll just be a mark in the loss column, a distant memory of an early-season game against a tough opponent.

This week, though, it was a reason to be annoyed.

Reed Travelstead scored three goals, Rush Baldwin added two, and Emery Thigpen had four assists as Jackson Academy beat St. Al 7-1 on Monday night.

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St. Al had won its season opener 11-0 over Cathedral last week, but its second outing of the season left a sour taste in the mouth of coach Scott Mathis.

“Ugly. The way we played against Cathedral, versus the way we’re playing now, is because of the team. They’re just not communicating. They’re not talking. They’re playing long ball and they’re not working together, and they know better,” Mathis said. “Everybody’s looking back and trying to take it on themselves. It’s not very good at all. I want to be able to come into games like this and be competitive, especially when we are competitive.”

The Flashes were competitive for about a half against Jackson Academy. Ryan Theriot scored a goal in the first half, and they trailed 2-1 in the waning moments. Then Baldwin scored with about three minutes left in the half, and the Raiders started to pull away.

Samuel Hadley and Travelstead netted goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to put Jackson Academy ahead 5-1. Travelstead finished his hat trick with two late goals.

St. Al kept up some offensive pressure early in the second half, but eventually settled into a less aggressive posture as the game got out of hand. The final result was more competitive than the score indicated, but St. Al never threatened to get back in it, either.

“This is a typical early game. We’re trying to feel each other out. One of our best players is hurt,” Mathis said. “That doesn’t matter, because we’ve only lost one player from last year and one player doesn’t make a team. These guys are totally outplaying us because they’re beating us to the ball.”

Although frustrated with the loss, Mathis was confident his team will be fine in the long run. The squad that won the MAIS Class AAA tit is back almost completely intact. Midfielder Jack Dowe was lost to graduation and defender Kieran Theriot is expected to miss the early part of the season with an ankle injury, but other than that all of last year’s starters are returning.

Ryan Theriot had six goals in the opener against Cathedral — he scored 50 last season — and three other players scored in that game. The Flashes play again Thursday at home against Hartfield, and don’t have any district games until January.

That leaves plenty of time to shake off one bad night in November.

“I think once they get a few more games under their belt, they’re going to be fine,” Mathis said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to be competitive. The issue is, are they going to do enough in each game? The league is as strong as it isn’t, but we can beat ourselves — which we often do.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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