By TODD VINYARD
Tupelo's boys soccer team will try to bring some northern exposure to the state high school playoffs this weekend.
Tupelo, who is 17-3 on the season, have long been the Kings of soccer in North Mississippi, but the Golden Wave have never won a boys soccer state championship. In fact, Jackson area teams have kept all the titles at home.
First year coach Ryan Webb and his Golden Wave team face Northwest Rankin at 4 p.m. today at Hughes Field in Jackson. Clinton and Harrison Central meet in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. The winner will play Saturday for the state championship.
Before making the championship round Tupelo must beat Northwest Rankin again. The Golden Wave won the first match 9-1.
"Northwest Rankin is a good team," Tupelo assistant coach Chris Clay said. "They play a style we like in that we can be very patient."
Freshman midfielder Curt Cockrell helped the Wave make it to Jackson with a game-winning goal Tuesday against Pearl. The 2-1 win gave Tupelo some revenge after being knocked out of the playoffs last season by Pearl.
"That was a clutch situation," Webb said after the Pearl game. "The ball was in front of the goal and he (Cockrell) put it in with confidence."
A concern for Tupelo could be the availability of sophomore fullback Jarod McCord, who injured his left ankle in last Tuesday's game. McCord scored a goal in the second half to tie the score 1-1 with Pearl.
Clay said McCord is questionable for today's match.
Tupelo beat Southaven 5-0 Feb. 10th in a first round playoff match at home. Rob Braswell scored two goals, while Clay Roper, Richard Swiney, and Clay Scruggs all scored one goal each.