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SHS boys soccer team holds ring ceremony

July 17, 2012

The Starkville High School boys soccer team shows off its State Championship rings, trophy and banner during a ceremony on Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Winning a championship usually comes with two things.

The thrill of winning the championship is the first emotion and probably one of the best feelings. The second is the remembrance of that championship with a ceremony.

On Tuesday night, the Starkville High School boys soccer team celebrated its Class 5A State Championship over Pascagoula with a ring ceremony at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was the first soccer championship in school history.

"The boys are really anxious (and) they have been waiting," SHS boys soccer coach Brian Bennett. "The school did a good job helping us get the rings. They look really good and the boys are really excited."

The Yellowjackets beat the Panthers 1-0 on a goal by Justin Gordon in early February in Clinton.

"We knew we had the pieces," Bennett said. "A lot of theses guys had played at high levels during the offseason. We knew we had a good team coming into the season, and they were real confident."

For eight guys, the night was bittersweet.

JR Tomlinson, Marvin Hughes, Price Day, Addison Watson, Lewis Maynard, Austin Wileman, Justin Gandy and Kase Kingery graduated in May and will be going their separate ways.

"It's one last chance for them to be around," Bennett said. "We are going to do another ceremony at the first football game, but those guys won't be there. This will be the last time they will all be here together."

For Watson, he is headed to Missouri State where he will play goalie.
"It's a good moment because some of us our going off to college in a week or two," Watson said. "It will be good to meet with the guys one last time and celebrate. Hopefully, we will get back together. It's just a night for us all to reflect on how great the year has been and what we have done for each other as a team."

Watson learned on Tuesday afternoon that fellow Yellowjacket Kingery will more than likely be joining him in Springfield and playing for the Bears soccer team.

For Watson and many of the seniors the championship was not just about this season, it was the several seasons before leading up to the ultimate goal.

"We put in about five, six years some of us and it is good to be able to win the championship and rewarded for the championship," Watson said. "We have to thank Starkville School District for buying us the rings, Dr. (Stan) Miller for putting in the time and effort to persuade the guys and most of all the guys, Coach Bennett and our parents. It's great to be able to win it but its good to have that ring to show it off."

Bennett has had several months to look back and reflect on his team's historic run.

"It is not easy to do," he said. "You keep looking back and its great to get that one done. Of course the guys coming back are really wanting to get another one, so they're not settling for this one. It's a lot of hard work and these guys put a lot of hard work into it."

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