Gators edge NHS for 1-0 win in Region 6-5A

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

VICKSBURG &045; Eric Holland scored a goal with 12 minutes remaining in the second half as Vicksburg defeated Natchez 1-0 for a Division 6-5A win on Tuesday night.

Battling below-freezing temperatures, both teams looked sluggish throughout. The Gators (5-4-2, 1-0 Division 6-5A) controlled the ball on offense nearly the entire game but could not get their shots past Natchez goalie Aaron Ratliff. Vicksburg outshot Natchez 41-5.

&uot;He’s just an incredible keeper,&uot; Natchez coach Dennis Hogue said. &uot;He’s a little bitty guy. He’s a buck-oh-five wet, but he just sees the play unfold so well.&uot;

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Vicksburg goalkeeper Jay Griffing showcased his moves as well.

With just under four minutes remaining, Griffing made a lunging, one-handed deflection on a long shot by Matthew Henderson to secure the win for the Gators. When the game ended, his teammates chased him down and piled on to celebrate.

&uot;That could have changed things and we could still be sitting here playing if it wasn’t for that save,&uot; VHS coach Casey Smith said. &uot;He probably only had two saves the entire game, but if he didn’t make that one we’re tied 1-1, and we’re looking at 10 and 10 in shootouts.&uot;

Natchez played a closer game than when Vicksburg eased to a 5-2 win on Nov. 11. But the loss drops the Bulldogs (4-6, 1-2) out of playoff contention as they complete their division schedule.

&uot;I was very pleased with how everything went except for the score,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;I thought both teams played great. I was real pleased with my guys.&uot;

The game appeared to be headed for a 0-0 tie when Holland, who is tied for the team lead in goals, hit the game-winner.

On a pass into the box, players scrambled for control of the ball. It finally slipped out to Holland, who punched it in from about 15 feet.

&uot;It was kind of a jumbled ball that bounced off of one of their players and he just finished it up,&uot; Smith said. &uot;He’s had that knack.&uot;

Vicksburg girls 12, Natchez 0

Much like the last meeting between these teams, Vicksburg completely dominated from the start.

Brandi Parker scored four goals and seven other Missy Gators lit up the scoreboard to give Vicksburg the win in its division opener.

&uot;We started out moving the ball pretty good, better than we’d been doing,&uot; VHS coach Kevin Manton said. &uot;We needed that.&uot;

The Missy Gators scored four goals in the opening 15 minutes and soon backed off. It was similar to Vicksburg’s 11-0 season-opening win over the Lady Bulldogs on Nov. 11.

The game was so one-sided that Natchez (5-5, 1-2) was able to get only one shot on the goal.

&uot;My girls, they’re a good team and they’ve improved a lot,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;But they knew coming down here they were looking at a loss.&uot;