By Ron Barry
It was the shot that didn’t go in that may have been the key to Crockett County’s 5-1 home-opening soccer victory over Jackson South Side last Tuesday.
In the final minute of the first half, the Cavaliers were holding only a 2-0 lead despite having controlled play most of the period. An opportunity for a rush at the Hawk goal presented itself, and the Crockett forwards charged ahead in a well-designed wave, with a perfect assist pass made to the middle – but the shot just missed the net.
The play itself, however, gave Coach Carli Branson and Assistant Natalie Stephens the content and the encouragement necessary for their halftime talk with the team.
“That’s exactly what we want,” Stephens told the players. “When we get a chance like that, if you’ll just remember to keep your spacing and fight the urge to all run toward the ball, then we have more options to score than just one shooter. And if you’ll move and make your cuts, instead of standing and waiting until the play is too far underway, that’s what we’ve been waiting for. And guess what, guys? We can do that any time we want.”
After Branson had echoed the sentiment and added a few defensive adjustments, the Cavs returned to the field – and immediately scored two more goals within the opening minutes of the second half.
That all but wrapped things up for Crockett, which moved to 2-0 for the season after several scheduled games had been canceled by weather or other circumstances. The Cavs had opened the 2022 campaign with a 7-2 triumph at Union City in which Alex Nolen collected the hat trick with three goals. Salvador Negrete, Jorge Martinez, Walter Smith, and Fransisco Mena also scored in that contest, with Jose Garza, Jonathan Grajeda, Daniel Jordan, and Smith recording assists.
In the South Side game, Negrete got the scoring party started with a goal in the opening minutes. Smith tallied about midway through the opening period to make it 2-0, Crockett.
After the coaches’ halftime encouragement, Nolen came out and boomed in a pair of goals to push the advantage to 4-0. Grajeda capped off the Cav scoring with the final goal. Martinez, Nolen, and Edgar Juarez assisted with crisp passes, and goalkeeper VJ Pillar made five saves for the second straight game after being recruited to play the position due to injuries to the previous netminders.
Crockett was scheduled to host Obion County Central this past Tuesday night after The Crockett County Times went to press. The team is then set to participate in a tournament at Dyer County Friday and Saturday.
Rounding up the other Crockett spring sports teams…
Crockett 14, Jackson North Side 1: The day after blanking North Side 13-0 in Alamo, Coach Brent Fronabarger’s diamonders crushed the Indians in Jackson by the same margin. North Side actually led 1-0 after two innings, but the Cavs scored five times in the third, four times in the fourth, and five more times in the fifth to ice the triumph.
Senior Austin Combs had a big day, throwing four innings of two-hit ball and going 3-for-3 with a walk and RBI at the plate. Third baseman Joseph Gould knocked in two runs and scored three, and also walked twice. Outfielder Cannon Hurst drove in three runs with a pair of hits, and Will Holyfield brought home three runs in three different ways with the bases loaded: a walk in the third, a groundout in the fourth, and getting hit by a pitch in the fifth.
The Cavs were the beneficiaries of 11 walks in the game, three to John Vasquez. Will Garrett added a run-scoring double and pitched a scoreless fifth frame in relief to seal the victory.
Crockett 4, Halls 0: Luke Riley hurled a three-hit shutout and helped his own cause with a run-scoring single as the Cavs blanked Halls Friday in a game moved from Alamo because of the wet field. Riley had two hits and scored a run; Garrett had two hits; Combs added a double and scored twice; and Braden McCanless drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.
Riley hit two batters but didn’t issue a walk and struck out four in going the distance, overcoming three infield errors to keep the Tigers from crossing the plate. The game was 1-0 until Crockett struck for a three-run rally in the top of the fifth to break it open.
Dyer County 4, Crockett 0: The Choctaws’ Lane Evans shut down the Cavs’ offense on three hits, striking out 10 without issuing a walk, in the first game of a Monday doubleheader. Gould, McCanless, and Blaine Nichols had singles for the lone Crockett safeties, while Austin Epperson socked three hits, including a home run, for the winners. McCanless took the pitching loss.
Dyer County 11, Crockett 0: The visitors scored one, three, and seven runs in the first three frames to put the second game away quickly. Evans had three hits and two RBIs for Dyer, which received another three-hit shutout from Parker Patterson and Brandin French. Garrett, Riley, and Combs collected the only hits for the Cavs, who fell to 7-6 with the defeat.
Dyer County 9, Crockett 2: The host Lady Choctaws tallied three times in the first inning and never looked back in downing the Lady Cavs behind a 13-hit attack keyed by Reagan Thompson, who went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Ava Ozment went the distance for Dyer, striking out 10 and scattering seven hits.
Brooklyn Haynes was the lone Lady Cav with a multiple-hit game, driving in both Crockett runs with a pair of singles. Piper White had a double for the Lady Cavs, and Madison Solis added a single and a walk.
Ripley 13, Crockett 0: Crockett dropped to 4-7 for the season when Ripley slammed three long home runs in the first two innings and then limited the hosts to two hits – singles by White and Lynden Cole. Sydney Parmenter hurled the shutout for the Lady Tigers, who improved to 9-4 for the spring. Pearson Vaughan hit two homers and a double and drove in five runs for Ripley.
TRACK & FIELD
Spring Speed Spectacular: In the prestigious track season-opening event held at Arlington High School, Crockett’s team managed five top-ten finishes in various events and just missed a couple of others, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the girls 4×800 Meter Relay by the team of Kristin Lewis, Emma Maddox, Halle Miller, and Alyssa Roy.
The girls 4×400 Meter Relay team placed seventh and the 4×200 Meter Relay team finished eleventh in the other team events.
The top finishers by individuals on the boys team included: Eylan Morris, fifth in the 800 Meter Run; Stephen Scallion, fifth in the 3200 Meter Run; Morris and Scallion, ninth and eleventh in the 1600 Meter Run; and Daniel Jordan, eleventh in the 200 Meter Dash and fourteenth in the 400 Meter Dash.
Top performers by individual girls included: Alyssa Roy, sixteenth in the 1600 Meter Run; Halle Miller, eighteenth in the 800 Meter Run; and Emma Maddox, nineteenth in the 400 Meter Dash. Several others placed in differing races: Joy Evans (25), Jalena Pruiett (28), Kristin Lewis (31), and CJ Wood (35) in the 400 Meters; Lindsay Smith (27) and Ester Procopio (28) in the 800 Meters; Procopio (20), Cecilia Visnick (21), and Leyla Silva (24) in the 1600 Meters; Evans (28) in the 200 Meters; and Pruiett (35) in the 100 Meters.
USJ Invitational Meet on April 1: Jordan finished third in the 200 Meters and fifth in the 400 Meters; Morris ran a personal-best 4:59 to finish third in the 800 Meters; Scallion, running his second straight time of 11:00, was fifth in the 3200 Meters; Roy was sixth in the girls 3200 Meters; and Evans finished seventh and eighth in the girls 200 and 400 Meters, respectively.