Northwest Rankin shutout Ocean Springs 2-0 to claim the Class 6A state championship at Clinton High School on Saturday night.
It’s the Cougars fourth state title in school history and first since 2008.
“We knew it was a going to be a very possession oriented game and our kids responded to what we wanted them to do. Our quality players like Ty Ware, Chandler Shirley and Peyton Ratcliff showed up tonight,” said Northwest Rankin coach Chris Gardner. “Ocean Springs is a really good team. They have a bunch of good skill guys up top and we needed to try to limit their possessions.”
The first goal of the game on a breakaway Sumner Richardson gave a cross to Ty Ware, who put the ball in the net with 25 minutes left before halftime for a 1-0 Northwest Rankin lead.
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Richardson scored the second goal five minutes into the second half, capping the scoring for the Cougars (23-1).
“This is our sixth time coming and first time since 2010 and just getting to state title games are hard to come by,” Gardner said. “We play in the SEC West of soccer with Madison Central, Starkville and Callaway and they really prepare us for these type games.”
Ocean Springs (20-4-1), who finishes runner-up for the second straight year, outshot Northwest Rankin 11-10.
“Besides the score it was a fairly even game and I thought we actually played better, but we couldn’t score and that’s what matters,” said Ocean Springs coach Jeff French.
“First goal was a great goal with forward movement and great passes. They earned it. Second goal, we didn’t clear the ball out well. We knew had our hands full with their forwards. They executed when it mattered.”