The I-10/I-20 Blast Tournament is practically bursting at the seams, but Chris Pryor doesn’t mind.
This is the 10th year for the annual soccer tournament, which attracts some of the region’s top teams. As far as high school soccer tournaments are concerned, it’s hard to find many bigger or better. The 2017 version features more than 60 teams, which will compete Friday and Saturday at the Gulfport Sportsplex, St. Patrick, West Harrison, the Gulfport High track field and two other venues in Gulfport — Milner Stadium and Herbert Wilson Field.
“What’s been unique about I-10/I-20 is you have teams coming from all parts of the state,” said Pryor, who organizes the tournament on top of coaching the Gulfport girls soccer team. “It’s the opportunity for some teams on the Coast that don’t normally travel to play teams they wouldn’t normally see. I think that’s the biggest draw.”
This year’s tournament features St. Andrews, Sacred Heart (Louisiana), Sacred Heart (Mississippi), South Jones, West Jones, Madison Central, Meridian, Clinton, Oak Grove, Pearl, Petal and Jackson Prep. They’ll compete against Our Lady Academy, St. Patrick, Pass Christian, Bay, Gautier, Pascagoula, West Harrison, Biloxi, George County, Gulfport, Hancock, Ocean Springs, St. Stanislaus, Moss Point, Stone and St. Martin, among others.
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“You have a lot of teams at 6A/5A/4A/3A using this as a tuneup for playoffs, not just district,” Pryor said. “I think at any given time at any time slot you’ll see a quality game.”
One of the marquee matchups pits reigning Class 6A boys champion Madison Central against South State champion Ocean Springs at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Field 2 at the Gulfport Sportsplex. The Lady Jaguars and Lady Greyhounds will play immediately after at noon.
“I think it’s kind of understood we want to match up with them,” OSHS boys coach Jeff French said. “Chris does a really good job of helping out and being accommodating.
“If you’re doing a tournament, you want good teams and matchups all the way around and that’s what Chris does.”
Weather could be a concern, but Pryor said Thursday they’re moving forward as planned.
“As long as it’s safe, we’ll proceed,” he said. “If people are coming out, it’ll be worth it.”
Tickets are good for any game at any venue on the day they’re purchased.
I-10/I-20 Blast Tournament varsity schedule
GHS Track Field
Resurrection vs. Jackson Prep
Gulfport girls vs. Madison Central
Oak Grove girls vs. St. Martin
Gulfport vs. Madison Central
Hancock vs. Oak Grove
Gautier girls vs. Pass Christian
Pascagoula vs. Clinton
St. Patrick girls vs. Pearl
West Harrison vs. Sacred Heart
Moss Point vs. Petal
South Jones girls vs. Clinton
Biloxi vs. Jackson Prep
Pass Christian vs. Resurrection
West Harrison girls vs. Sacred Heart
St. Andrews girls vs. Gautier
Hancock vs. Clinton
Pascagoula girls vs. Sacred Heart
St. Patrick vs. St. Andrews
West Harrison vs. St. Stanislaus
Clinton girls vs. Sacred Heart
South Jones vs. Ocean Springs
Petal girls vs. St. Patrick
St. Andrews girls vs. Pass Christian
St. Stanislaus vs. St. Andrews
Moss Point vs. Gautier
Pearl vs. St. Patrick
Pass Christian vs. Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart girls vs. St. Martin
Oak Grove vs. South Jones
Resurrection girls vs. Hancock
I-10/I-20 Blast Tournament Schedule
Gulfport girls vs. West Jones
Madison Central vs. Ocean Springs
Bay vs. Meridian
Bay girls vs. Petal
Gulfport vs. West Jones
Madison Central girls vs. Ocean Springs
Resurrection girls vs. Meridian
West Jones girls vs. Our Lady Academy
Biloxi girls vs. South Jones
Jackson Prep vs. Oak Grove
George County girls vs. Pearl
Biloxi vs. Meridian
George County boys vs. Stone
Oak Grove girls vs. Biloxi
Pascagoula vs. West Jones
George County girls vs. Bay
Gautier vs. Stone
George County vs. Bay
Meridian girls vs. Pascagoula
Petal vs. Pearl