Hogue, Freeman square off as Wave to host NHS

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; A chance encounter of two guys with strong tastes for music and soccer emerged that day back in the mid-1980s at a rock concert.

Who was playing?

&uot;I think it was Steve Marriott &045; used to be with Humble Pie,&uot; said Cathedral soccer coach Rick Freeman, a rock-n-roll guy who attended the concert with a friend of a cousin &045; Natchez High head soccer coach Dennis Hogue.

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&uot;I think it was down in Abbeville, La. &045; somewhere down around Lafayette,&uot; Freeman added. &uot;He and my cousin were friends, and that’s how I met Dennis. Dennis and I are both music aficionados. We usually go to Memphis in May each year, but that’s kind of tapered off. But we both have the same tastes in music.&uot;

It’s been the bond of those two coaches in recent years along with soccer. Both Freeman and Hogue were one of the first coaches in the Natchez Youth Soccer Organization when it began shortly thereafter, and the two have been friends since &045; and now get to coach against each other at the varsity level.

Freeman’s Green Wave and Hogue’s Bulldogs square off at 7:30 p.m. today at Cathedral’s D’Evereux Stadium.

&uot;I guess it was rock-n-roll &045; probably something like Alice Cooper or Ted Nugent, something hard rock,&uot; Hogue said of that concert. &uot;He and his wife and my wife are all good friends. We both like to party. We have similar interests in music and are in the Krewe of Alpheus together. We started the soccer league, and he coached and I coached. We’d go heads up, laugh about it, drink a beer and talk about the kids. Our friendship goes way back.&uot;

Their friendship has added more storylines to tonight’s matchup of the two MHSAA soccer teams in Natchez. Hogue, who coached Cathedral in the mid-1990s, is in his second season at Natchez and got a chance to coach against Freeman on the high school level for the first time back on Dec. 22.

The Bulldogs took a 2-1 victory for its first over Cathedral.

&uot;When the rec league first got started, there just weren’t enough people who knew enough about it to feel comfortable about coaching,&uot; Freeman said. &uot;Pete Cantu and Liz St. Germain started talking to us about it and talked us into it. Back when it first started, I think most of the coaches were single guys like Dennis and I. We just enjoyed it and stuck to it through all the years.&uot;

Hogue agreed times haven’t changed when he’s coaching against Freeman &045; they’ll get together and talk about the game afterward in that same non-competitive manner. But now he’ll admit there may be a little more competitiveness from the opposing side since the Bulldogs took that win in the last meeting.

Both teams ended regulation in a 1-1 tie, but Tony Edgell’s penalty kick in sudden death was the deciding goal after both teams went through the first round of penalty kicks with two shots apiece.

It’s the final regular season game for the Bulldogs.

&uot;I used to coach those guys, and I still see some of those guys around town,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;They say, ‘I tell you what &045; it won’t happen again.’ They’re going to be fired up. They’ve definitely got something to prove. Sometimes you never know who shows up &045; sometimes you have strong players who are off, and sometimes you have smaller players step up. It’s going to be a lot harder to win there.&uot;

It’s a little extra motivation for the Green Wave to come out and play well tonight after suffering a tough loss Friday to Franklin County. The Green Wave had a chance to lock up the Division 7 crown with a win, but instead the Bulldogs took a 3-2 win to spoil the party.

The Green Wave now must win Friday at North Pike in its final regular season game to open the playoffs at home against the Division 6 runner-up.

&uot;Dennis has one of the best teams he’s ever had,&uot; Freeman said. &uot;But I thought (Friday) they played very well offensively. We controlled the ball about 75 percent of the game. They got through our defense a couple of times. We were getting the shots but jus wasn’t able to get the back of the net. All of the kids were working hard and playing well.&uot;

On the girls’ side, the Lady Bulldogs enter the game playing well but just without the wins to show for it. They fell to Vicksburg 5-0 back on Jan. 6 after falling to the Lady Gators 10-0 in the first meeting.

Much of the improvement has come from the front in forwards Ashley Mitchell, Kayla Floyd and Staci Weaver.

&uot;They have gotten better every game,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;They’re starting to play as a team. Vicksburg likes to put the ball in the goal. My girls stepped up. I told them it’s not about a win or loss. We’re not on their level. If you go out there and play, you’re winners regardless of the score. They were thrilled with that game.&uot;

The Lady Bulldogs will face a Cathedral team they beat 4-0 in the first meeting. The Lady Wave enter the contest after falling to Franklin County 3-0 on Friday, a team it beat in Meadville during the first round of division play.

The Lady Wave ends it season Friday at North Pike.

&uot;I think our team isn’t playing as unified as they should right now, and I think it was showing Friday night,&uot; Lady Wave head coach Christine Krupa said. &uot;The girls know that, and we’ve talked about it. I think everybody knows what needs to be done. It’ll take some persistence and motivation to go in the right direction. We all need to get on a common ground, but it’s within our reach.&uot;