Oak Forest, Cathedral show good competition, sportsmanship

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

NATCHEZ — Cathedral fell to Oak Forest 7-6 on penalties Tuesday evening. They did not walk away from the game empty-handed despite the loss.

Head coach Dennis Hogue was gifted a tree at midfield in honor of Jordan Herrington, 15, who died in a car wreck over the weekend. Herrington was a football player for the Green Wave.

After an intense battle, the two squads came together and bowed their heads to pray. Hogue said it was a class act.

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“They had similarly lost someone and knew how devastating it was,” Hogue said. “Having good sportsmanship is just as important as being competitive. The gesture means a lot. The kids said it was cool of them to do that. They were humbled. It went a long way for our rapport.”

The tree is a sweet olive tree, and the kids had an idea to plant it in the planters along the central drive at Cathedral. Hogue said he could make a plaque for it.

Oak Forest’s great sportsmanship complimented a great competition. Ten minutes after kickoff, the teams were tied at 2-2 with goals from Jacob Moore and Grayson Guedon. Cathedral conceded the goals on corner kicks, which frustrated Hogue.

“No one was shoulder to shoulder with Oak Forest players, and they knocked it in,” Hogue said. “All you have to do is give them a shoulder, and it messes the timing up. You can guess what we will be working on in practice tomorrow, defending corners.”

Joseph Garrity scored his first goal since 9th grade with a hustle play. He got a shot away as he was falling, and the ball beat the keeper to tie the game at 3-3. Oak Forest would retake the lead 4-3 on another corner.

Moore knotted the game up at 4-4 with two minutes left to go in the second half to send the game to extra-time. Joseph Garrity had made an excellent pass to him on a free-kick.

It was something they had worked on in practice, Hogue said. Before Hogue took the kick, he said he was worried he would try and shoot the ball instead of playing the pass.

“We have a guy walk out and angle a pass around the wall. We have practiced it in several different spots,” Hogue said. “I didn’t know what would happen when Garrity stepped up like that. I thought he was going to blast it. They pulled it off though, it was a good feeling to see them do that. It was smart soccer. They do pay attention in practice.”

In extra time, Cathedral had several opportunities to defeat the Yellow Jackets but could not find the back of the net. Garrity made a crucial save to give his team hope in the penalty shootout, but three misses from the Green Wave sealed their fate.

“I knew when we went to PKs, Garrity was the man for the job. I think his issue tonight was a fatigue factor. Normally, he is solid,” Hogue said. “I was surprised at how few pks we converted. Last night, they were rock solid.”

The loss may be the crushing blow to any playoff hopes. Hogue said it looked bleak as he expects Copiah Academy to win district and Brookhaven Academy may take second. Now, the pressure is off for his team. He said they could go out, have fun and continue to grow