High School Sports

Shootout decides 4A State soccer finals between Bay High and Florence

Bay High's Ethan Loftin (5) heads the ball for a goal against Florence on Saturday, February, 4, 2017, at the MHSAA Soccer Classic, Class 4A and 5A state championships, at Madison Central High School in Madison, Miss.
Bay High's Ethan Loftin (5) heads the ball for a goal against Florence on Saturday, February, 4, 2017, at the MHSAA Soccer Classic, Class 4A and 5A state championships, at Madison Central High School in Madison, Miss. Chris Todd/Special to the Sun Herald

It came down to a shootout for the MHSAA 4A boys soccer state championship Saturday.

Florence was one better than Bay, depriving the Tigers a second title. Instead Florence won a third championship with a 3-2 edge on penalty kicks after the team’s battled through 80 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime tied 1-1.

“We didn’t finish when we had chances to score,” said Bay coach Kelly Ross. “The ball didn’t bounce our way.”

The Tigers (16-7-2) came agonizingly close to scoring four times during a scoreless second half of regulation.

Florence goalie Logan Helms made a diving deflection on a header by Elon Gratzer. A head by Bo Bowman hit the cross bar. Helms deflected a shot by Christopher Rico over the goal and Jono Cucurullo fired just wide.

Bay’s first three kickers in the shootout failed to score. Trey Bordelon hit the right goal post, Helms dove to his left to stop a shot by Bowman and to his right to deny Conner Smothers.

“I watch their hips to see which they are going,” said Helms, who made nine saves.

Bay had two in the shootout as Aidan Pohl and Ethan Loftin each found the goal.

Baylor Little, Bailey Mickle and Tanner Brunson scored for Florence in the shootout. Brunson, the final kicker, had the championship winner.

Logan Howard fired over the goal for Florence and Bay goalie John Bowman denied Chasten Lamb with a dive for one of his 11 saves.

Florence scored first 19 minutes into the game on a shot from 10 yards by Lamb. Bay tied it with four minutes left in the half when Loftin headed a throw in from Smothers past Helms.

Bay, which edged three-time defending champion St. Stanislaus in the 4A South State final, won its only title in 2012.

Florence (14-9-1) won previous championships in 2000 and 2010.

Appropriately the gold ball for Florence’s trophy case was handed to Helms, the Eagles’ senior captain.

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