ICY WINTER WEATHER WIPES OUT FIRST ROUND OF SOCCER PLAYOFFS
By Parrish Alford
Northeast Mississippi's winter storm has put a freeze on today's first round of soccer playoffs.
Oxford and Corinth have rescheduled their game to Monday at 6 p.m. at Oxford.
The Tupelo High boys and girls teams will host first-round games, it's just not clear when.
Tupelo athletic director James Sloan said he talked with Mississippi High School Activities Association director Ennis Proctor Thursday with the ice storm approaching.
"The decision was that we'll play these games on the first available day, but we've got to get some cooperation from the weather," Sloan said. "It's looking like Monday might be one of the coldest days of all. It looks like this stuff is going to stick around. If we could get them played by Tuesday or Wednesday I'd be tickled."
Monday's projected high temperature is in the upper 20s. Second-round playoff games are scheduled for Tuesday. Sloan said Tupelo's games would not be moved to another site.
The Lady Wave, which finished 3-8 last year, begins the playoffs a perfect 12-0.
"We're tuned up and ready for the playoffs," Tupelo coach Buddy Prince said. "We can't wait."
The Tupelo boys begin the playoffs at 15-3.
As Oxford and Corinth prepare to meet, both coaches say things could be better, but both say they'll be just fine.
Class II, Division I runner-up Corinth enters the game 16-8, while Class II, Division II champ Oxford is 9-1.
"I don't think they've played the caliber of opponents that we have," said Corinth coach John Smillie, whose team has lost to Tupelo, Starkville and Columbus two times each. "Our 16-8 is probably a tougher schedule."
Perhaps, but the Warriors may come up short if the game is high scoring.
"We're doing a good job of denying the ball on defense, but we're not finishing," Smillie said. "If it's a high-scoring game we're out of luck."
Oxford coach Tim Carter hopes his team will find some playoff intensity.
"We're playing well, but we need to step it up. We're going into a higher level of competition, obviously, when you talk about No. 1 and No. 2 (division) teams," he said.
"I'm not real pleased with our basic fundamentals right now. We have down the concept of what I want to do, but we have to get back to passing and trapping."
Oxford may also be missing its top scorer, Cesar Cerdairo. The sophomore has a foot injury and was listed as questionable had the game been today. Cerdairo and junior Michael Hipp have had either the shot or the assist in 39 of Oxford's 44 goals this year.
"Gotham City has Batman and Robin, we've got Cerdairo and Hipp. They're our Dynamic Duo," Carter said.