Madison Central goal keeper Joshua Rowland (center) makes a save despite pressure by three Northwest Rankin players including Chandler Shirley (6), Ty Ware (2) and Tanner Lindsey (32) on Friday night, January 9, 2015, at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood.
FLOWOOD – The only way Madison Central could get the ball past Northwest Rankin sophomore goalie Carson Tackett Friday night was by penalty kicks.
But that proved to be just enough as the top-ranked Jaguars edged the second-ranked Cougars 2-1 in a district game that went to a shootout Friday at Northwest Rankin.
“It was a good game between two very competitive teams,” said Cecil Hinds, who coached Madison Central to the MHSAA 6A championships the past two years.
Northwest Rankin seemed on its way to a 1-0 victory as a result of a first-half goal by Christian Williams. But the Cougars were called for a handball in front of their own goal with a minute left in regulation. B.J. Sanders converted the penalty kick, forcing overtime.
After both teams failed to produce goals over the next 20 minutes, the game when to a shootout, highlighted by the goaltending of the Jaguars’ Joshua Rowland. He made diving saves on the first two Cougar shots. That proved to be the difference when Connor Johnson, Nolan Alrich, Michael Koeze and Branden Livingston converted for the Jaguars. Livingston’s shot, just under the cross bar, was the clincher as the Jaguars improved to 14-1-1, the only loss coming against unbeaten St. Paul, the top-ranked team in Louisiana.
Tackett was brilliant in goal for the Cougars with 16 saves, including a stop on a point blank shot by Zack Bailey and a diving save against Sanders in the shootout.
Northwest Rankin (14-3-1) will get another shot at the Jaguars on Jan. 20 at Madison Central.
Soccer certainly can be unpredictable.
Just before Christmas, fourth-ranked Madison Central lost to Clinton, then Northwest Rankin dominated Clinton in a 5-1 win.
Friday night, it was the Lady Jaguars, who were dominant in a 4-0 win over the second-ranked Lady Cougars (12-2-3).
“The girls are a little more confident with their play,” said Hinds, who coaches both Madison Central teams. “This is definitely one of the better performances we have had this season.”
Mary Elizabeth Pace rocketed a shot over the head of Northwest Rankin goalie Sarah Gilliland from 20 yards out to give the Lady Jaguars (10-2-1) a 1-0 halftime lead. “I practice that a lot,” she said of long-range shooting.
Meagan Ogburn, Maggie Overby and Jenna Walzer added second half goals.
Kristen Eddy had to make only one save in goal for Madison Central, but she kept busy, adeptly clearing back passes from her defenders. “I recommend if they (defenders) are facing the goalkeeper to just play it to her,” Hinds said. “She (Eddy) knows her role. She plays it well.”
Madison Central’s defenders were especially effective against the Lady Cougars’ Payton Colson, who entered the game with 22 goals.
“We know she is a goal scorer,” Hinds said. “We knew we had to make it difficult for her.”