Jackets get soccer sweep on senior night

Staff Writer

It was a must-win game for the Starkville Yellow Jackets as they needed to beat Murrah to keep their playoff dreams alive and they did so with a 5-1 victory.

“We knew coming in that we would have to win our remaining two games, and hope for a little bit of help on the outside so (Tuesday night) was a big win for that,” Starkville coach J.T. Coward said.

The Jackets got off to a slow start but a goal late into the first half gave them the spark they needed to get going offensively.

Mann Ashmouni, Ethan Pulliam, Lawson Dale and Christian Leach all contributed to the scoring effort as the upperclassmen gave SHS some much needed goals.  

“It felt good to come out here and get an early goal to get some confidence going,” Coward said. “All the younger players look up to these guys and for those guys to come out here and pick up big goals it says everything about how hard they have worked throughout the season to pick up those big goals.”

Ty Johnson delivered the fourth goal as he tucked away a penalty into the bottom left hand corner and wheeled away in celebration of his first goal in his senior night game.

“I was like don’t put too much pressure on yourself because then you might mess up,” Johnson said. “I just calmed down. It felt pretty good, I’ve tried before, but I just haven’t ever gotten it.”

Coward said the playoff fate of his squad would have been helped if Northwest Rankin had beaten Madison Central on Tuesday but that did not happen. The Jaguars won 1-0.

Starkville now needs Madison Central to lose to Murrah and to be on level terms when it comes to the tie breaker of goal differential.

It was senior night for the Jackets as Owen King, Ahmed Hassan, Nestor. Bonilla, Ashmouni, Travis Fuentes and Johnson were recognized.

Girls Game
Starkville 4,
Murrah 1

It may have been senior night, but it was the youth that shown in the Lady Jacket win over Murrah as Meg Rodgers, an eighth grader, propelled them to victory with her hat trick.

“It’s good, because I’m the second youngest (on) the soccer team,” Rodgers said. “So being an underclassman, it’s good for the upperclassmen just to see that I’m trying to make the expectations good for me.”

While the first goal took some time to find, the Lady Jackets were able to create many more opportunities and score more goals.

“(Murrah) played really well, (and) we struggled to find that first goal early in the game,” Coward said. “As soon as we got that first one in the back of the net, we got a bit of confidence and we were able to take control of the game.”

Murrah did exploit the backline of Starkville as it created multiple chances off of counter attacks due to its speed.

“They have got a lot of speed and they were able to get in behind us,” Coward said. “They just capitalized on one of those and were able to get one there towards the end.”

All but one of the SHS goals was scored by Rodgers and she assisted on the other scored by Amber Bock.

Rodgers said that it meant very much to win on senior day because of what the seniors have meant to her.

“The seniors are just leaders on our team and they have been so nice to us at practice,” Rodgers said. “It is just sad to see them go, plus college is so far away from where they are going so it’s just sad to see them go.”

Kyra Moorhead and Rainey Wells are the seniors for the Lady Jackets.

While the playoffs are not in the future this season for the SHS girls even if they win on Friday, Rodgers said that the team still wants to beat Northwest Rankin.

“I just want to play my heart out,” Rodgers said. “It’s the last game against Northwest Rankin, and we just want to play good and show what Starkville is all about.”