GULFPORT - Time was rapidly running out for the St. Stanislaus Rockachaws.
After jumping ahead two goals midway through their match with Clinton, St. Stanislaus' defense collapsed late. The Rockachaws surrendered two goals in the final 10 minutes of Saturday's I-10/I-20 Blast Tournament at Milner Stadium and it looked like they would settle for a draw.
Clinton's keeper made a magnificent diving stop off of a SSC free kick to set up the decisive corner kick in stoppage time.
Andrew Elkins accepted the kick, spun off his defender and slid a perfect pass across the yawning goal mouth to a crashing Corbin Blanchard. The senior burried the pass to give the Rockachaws a 3-2 decision.
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"It paid off at the right time. The resiliency from our guys is something we've become accustomed to doing," SSC coach Ryan Joiner said. "We don't mind winning late. It was a sloppy win, but a win nonetheless."
Carter St. Martin put SSC (14-2-1) ahead mid-way through the first half by blasting a shot that was rattling around in the Clinton box past the keeper.
Blanchard extended the Rockachaws' lead to 2-0 nine minutes into the second half when he roofed a shot from the right side past the keeper.
Clinton came roaring back. Orion Anderson bent a left-footed shot past keeper Owen Betz with 12 minutes remaining. Four minutes later, he spun off of a Rockachaw defender and blew a shot past Betz.
"I had heard about him from another coach. He's very clever with his left foot and scored on an absolute cracker," Joiner said. "Owen wasn't stopping that. Nobody was. He was a real handful for us."
The Rockachaws dominated possession the remainder of the contest, setting up a couple chances late that ultimately led to Blanchard's game winner.
"Normally we flick it high and Andrew will play it on to me," Blanchard said. Dustin (Bosch) wanted to play it at Andrew's feet and let him do what he does. He played a beautiful ball. It was hard for me to miss."
Prior to the win over Clinton, SSC up-ended West Jones 8-0 at West Harrison's field. Joiner felt like fatigue from playing two games played a role in the late Arrows goals.
"We needed this for the fitness and game speed," he said.
Madison Central 4, Gulfport 0: The Jaguars (13-2-2) scored six minutes into Saturday's game and never relented. The Admirals made several runs, particularly in the second half, but were unable to cash in like the reigning Class 6A champion Jaguars.
"You have to play the No. 1 team in the state to see where you stand," GHS coach Henrik Madsen said. "They have been the benchmark for a couple of years, so we wanted to see where we stand."
Perhaps Gulfport's best chance to break the shutout came in the 32nd minute, but an Admirals' shot off of a crossing pass clanged off of the post.
Several other times, Gulfport (8-5-3) had the Jaguars' keeper beat only to see a defender slide across the goal mouth to prevent a goal.
"It just wasn't our day. That's the hard part about it. I thought we played well and created some good chances, it just wouldn't go in the back of the net," Madsen said. "Unfortunately you have those games and Madison Central executed and put their chances in the back of the net."
Luke Comfort opened the scoring for Madison Central with a blast past the keeper. Ridge Brohaugh netted a second-half hat trick to round out the game's scoring.
In Gulfport's first game of the tournament, the Admirals pelted Petal 8-0.