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Yellowjackets knock off rust to nip Trojans

January 18, 2013

The Starkville High School boys' soccer team has not had many chances in the new year to play.

The Yellowjackets have only played two matches since Christmas Day because of the weather and head coach Brian Bennett feared his team wasn't going to be at the top of its game.

The Jackets (12-1-1, 3-0) fought off the rust and took a 2-1 decision over New Hope Friday night at the Mississippi State football practice field.

"We played well. We just didn't finish well," Bennett said. "A lot of that's the rustiness of not getting very many games in because of the weather. It's only our second game since Christmas because of all of the weather. You can tell we are not in sync."

SHS got on the board first when sophomore Coleman Berstrom found junior Justin Gordon. Gordon put it in the back of the net from 18 yards.

"Usually when you get that first goal, you can relax a little bit," Bennett said. "We didn't seem like ourselves (Friday) passing the ball. I think probably (it was) the speed of the turf and us not playing."

The Trojans got on the board late in the half when Parker Earhart threw it in from out of bounds and found Roger Shilling who scored the goal on a header to even things up at 1-1.

New Hope had the momentum going into the halftime break and were hoping it was going to carry over into the second half.

The Jackets didn't seem to let the Trojan goal bother them in the second half.

"Our guys we're upset because (New Hope) scored right before half," Bennett said. "They wanted to come out strong and they did. New Hope's strength is being able to send long balls. They are an older team than us and big, physical team."

The Jackets got the deciding goal when sophomore Ben Mackin found the back of the net midway through the second half.

"The second goal was really (good)," Bennett said. "If you keep getting the shots like you do, you will eventually get it to go in. They were playing with confidence. We just couldn't get that third goal in."

The Jackets kept the ball on their offensive end for most of the second half and did not give the Trojans many opportunities to tie the game up in the second half, but they couldn't get that third goal that was sure to put the match away.

"We played pretty good," Bennett said. "We didn't finish off a lot of chances that we could have had. The guys kept saying 'the ball bouncing and stuff.' It was a little bit different for them. They were just trying to get into it. We had a lot of good chances. New Hope did a good job defensively. They tightened it in and the goal keeper did a really good job."

SHS hopes to be back at home next week to host the first round of the playoffs if playing conditions are fair. The Jackets are scheduled to play Neshoba Central on the road Monday.

"We have to thank MSU for letting us get a game in," Bennett said. "If this would have been at our field, it wouldn't have been pretty."

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