The Poplarville Hornet Boys Soccer team went to North Pike on Tuesday January 27th to play in the school’s first ever soccer playoff game.
The Hornets missed some very good scoring opportunities early in the 1st half. Coach Smith said “You could tell early in the game our guys had the playoff jitters, it was the first time these kids had played in a playoff game. North Pike had a very good chance to score on a penalty kick but the shot hit the cross bar.” The first half was scoreless. In the second half, the Hornets came out fired up and played with a higher level of intensity. Smith added, “We talked about some things at the half and we were able to get all the first half miscues out of our head. We knew that we were the better team, but we had to capitalize on our chances to score.
The second half we have played much better all year long. We kind of take a boxers mentality when it comes to the second half. We use the first half to see what kind of punches you will throw and then in the later rounds (2nd half) we go for our knockout blow.”
The Hornets found their knockout punch in the first 3 minutes of the second half, when leading goal scorer, senior Noah Pearson, earned a penalty in the box. Noah was able to capitalize on the penalty kick to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later the Hornets were able to net their 2nd goal of the night, also scored by Pearson. The next 30 minutes would see a flurry of chances by the Hornets to add to their lead. North Pike had a few scoring chances but were denied by sophomore goal keeper Austin Carter. Smith added, “We had some guys step up tonight and play with a lot of intensity and passion. Sophomores Nick Kirschbaum and Austin Carter played exceptionally well for us tonight. Our two forwards Pearson and Houston were tough all night in the attacking third. We had some great leadership from the upper classmen. Sophomore Turan Smith does so many good things for our team. He is a very high motor kid that just leaves everything he has on the field night in and night out. I could not be any more proud of how these boys just kept competing throughout the course of the game. It’s a special group of boys that when they need to come together as one they find ways to put everything behind them and focus on becoming a team. They understand this is a team game and they will win as a team or lose as an individual.”
The game would end with a 2-0 Hornet victory.