Cathedral defeats Franklin County, makes playoffs

Published 12:19 am Friday, January 25, 2008

NATCHEZ — Nothing was going to stop the Cathedral Green Wave from making their ninth consecutive playoff appearance.

Not the bitter cold, not the swamplike field conditions at Devereux Stadium and not the fact they played most of the second half with just 10 men and the last five minutes of the game with just nine men.

Despite losing two players to red cards in the second half, the Wave defeated Franklin County 2-0 to clinch second place in Division 7-1A/2A/3A.

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“I’m very proud of the team tonight,” Cathedral coach Rick Simons said. “It was very important for us to win this game. We wanted to keep playing (in the playoffs).”

The game was like a playoff game, with the winner making the postseason and the loser going home.

The intensity and pressure of the game was evident in the physical play and raw emotions of the two teams.

Two Franklin County players picked up yellow cards in the first half, sweeper David Brown and goaltender Blaine Abernathy, but emotions really spilled over in the second half.

Cathedral (8-6, 4-2) took a 2-0 lead in the ninth minute of the half after a beautiful corner kick from Hunter Foster was deflected by Abernathy right to the foot of Kris Griffiths, who punched it in.

A few minutes after that, Foster was battling for a loose ball with Franklin County’s Adam Chance when Chance committed a hard foul on the Cathedral forward.

Foster, who in addition to the corner kick, scored the Wave’s first goal early in the first half on a header, turned and gave Chance a hard shove.

The players were quickly separated, but after a discussion by the referees, Chance was given a yellow card and Foster was sent off with a red, forcing Cathedral to play the remaining 25 minutes with just 10 men.

The Wave’s ranks got even smaller with five minutes remaining in the game when Brent Gaudé was sent off after another altercation.

Despite that fact, the Wave defense held the Bulldogs in check and didn’t allow them to put one in the net.

Simons credited the play of his goalkeeper, Jessie Morrison for helping keep the shutout.

“He was the highlight of the game,” Simons said. “He made playing keeper look easy. He controlled the field and stopped everything that came his way.”

Morrison gave credit to the entire team after the game.

“It was a great team effort,” he said. “We’re playing good soccer right now. I’m looking forward toward going to the playoffs.”

The Wave will travel to play the winner of Division 8 in the first round of the playoffs Tuesday. The winner of that region had not been determined as of Thursday night.