High School Sports

PK thriller sends Ocean Springs to 6A title game

Ocean Springs' P.J. Irwin (3) celebrates his first half goal against Brandon in the MHSAA Class 6A South State Championship on Monday, February 1, 2016, at the Brandon High School soccer field in Brandon, Miss.
Ocean Springs' P.J. Irwin (3) celebrates his first half goal against Brandon in the MHSAA Class 6A South State Championship on Monday, February 1, 2016, at the Brandon High School soccer field in Brandon, Miss.

BRANDON -- Ocean Springs is making it a habit of playing for a state championship. Some South State titles were easy. Monday's at Brandon went down to the very last kick.

The Greyhounds outlasted Brandon 3-2 (won 3-2 on penalty kicks) to advance to the MHSAA Class 6A state championship game.

It is the third time in four years Ocean Springs (14-6-2) will be playing for a state title.

They will face the Madison Central-Tupelo winner for the state title at 6 p.m. Saturday.

When it went to penalty kicks, OSHS coach Jeff French was very confident.

"I told my guys we got one of the best goalkeepers in the state so just do your job," French said. "It was fantastic game, both teams left everything out on the field."

P.J. Irwin scored the first goal of the game seven minutes into the first half to give the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead. He also made his penalty kick attempt.

"You're nervous when your walking up to take the kick," Irwin said. "But once you like the ball up I just get in a zone and figure where to place the ball."

Kyle Hillyard and Steven Gallagher each made their penalty kick attempts. Hillyard's attempt was the eventual winner.

Hillyard also scored on another penalty kick in the 25th minute of the 2nd half to give OSHS a 2-1.

"That was a fun game. Both teams went back and forth. We had chances, they had chances. Best game of the year for us," Hillyard said. "Ending it penalty kicks was good and now we can go play for a state championship."

Bennett Crain and John Avery Slay each scored the two goals for Brandon (18-3-1).

"Both teams fought hard to the very end," said Brandon coach Randy West. "We had opportunities to put the ball in the goal and didn't."

Brandon girls 2, Ocean Springs 0: Brandon scored two goals in a two and half minute span in the first half to race past Ocean Springs to advance to the MHSAA Girls Class 6A state championship.

Jocelyn Jones scored the first goal on a penalty kick, while Anna Kate Carter added the other goal.

"We stood toe to toe with the best team in the state and I'm proud of them," OSHS coach Patrick Hayes said. "Those two quick goals made us change think quickly, but Brandon is the No. 1 for a reason."

The Lady Bulldogs (22-0) will the Madison Central-Northwest Rankin winner for the 6A state title.

Ocean Springs finishes the season 15-6-2.

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