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SBLive Boys Weekly Soccer Wrap: Top-ranked Northwest Rankin beats Madison Central, Oak Grove takes down Brandon

Each week, the team at SBLive Mississippi will take an in-depth look at the past week’s high school boys soccer action, as well as a look ahead to the action to come in the following week. 

Here’s a look at the weekly boys soccer wrap for the week of Jan. 9 to Jan. 15.

Games of the Week

Northwest Rankin 2, Madison Central 0

Two of the best teams in the state faced off on Friday night in a game that could very well be a preview of the 6A State Championship in February. The undefeated Northwest Rankin Cougars (18-0-1) hosted the Madison Central Jaguars (10-2-1) in a battle of two former region rivals.

The Jaguars were coming off a pair of impressive victories over Germantown and Center Hill. They were looking to keep up the momentum especially with a massive region rematch with Clinton looming next week. 

The Cougars have had arguably the most impressive season to date of any team in the state. With wins over Brandon, Florence, Oak Grove, and Tupelo the Cougars seem destined to make a deep playoff run. They added another team to that impressive list on Friday.

Northwest Rankin struck right out of the gate. Senior Rory Humphrey pounced on a poor back pass from the Madison Central defense. Humphrey popped the ball up over the Jags goalkeeper and headed home the finish giving his team the early 1-0 lead. 

The Cougars kept up their pressure with Miguel Magagnin ripping a laser of a shot just over the bar in the 6th minute. Madison Central was able to settle in though and get a couple of chances of their own.

John Hrivnak ripped a half volley from 30 yards away that required a diving save from the Cougars goalkeeper. Just a minute later Caleb Davis sent in a dangerous cross to Dillan Smith who attempted to chip the goalkeeper, but the shot was nicely saved. 

There were few remaining chances for the Jags following this as Northwest Rankin really began to dominate possession. While they controlled the game, they were unable to double their lead as they remained up 1-0 at half. 

The Cougars maintained control throughout the second half and got their second of the night off the foot of Miles Williams. Cayman Tapper played a great through ball pass to Williams down the right side. Williams raced past everyone, and his shot went right past the goalkeeper into the back of the net. 

Madison Central was able to generate a couple of chances following this including a nice cross from Caleb Davis that Will Farthing got a headed just over the bar. The Jags were unable to finish their chances to get back in the game though. It was a 2-0 for Northwest Rankin in a game they really controlled from start to finish. 

Goals: Rory Humphrey (3’), Miles Williams (56’)
Assists: Cayman Tapper (56’)

Players of the Game
Northwest Rankin– Rory Humphrey
Madison Central – John Hrivnak 

Up next: Northwest Rankin’s perfect season will be on the line next week as they face off against a strong Clinton team on Thursday before traveling to Terry to finish the regular season on Friday. 

Madison Central will host Clinton in a region matchup that will likely determine the victor of region 4-6A. They will finish their regular season with Germantown on Friday. 

Oak Grove 2, Brandon 1

The Oak Grove Warriors (10-3-0) made the trip to Brandon on Tuesday to face off against the reigning South State Champion Brandon Bulldogs (8-4-3).

The Warriors are an especially talented team and have proved that all season long beating strong teams like Clinton and Ocean Springs. After coming in second in the region last year the Warriors were in position to win the region this year if they could take down Brandon.

The Bulldogs (8-4-3) dropped some heart breakers earlier in the season but had rallied of late going undefeated in their last four games. 

While the first ten minutes went back and forth between the two teams, Oak Grove soon settled in and began taking complete control. The Warrior’s attackers Cade Ortego, Broc Bookout, and Luke Dickson put a ton of pressure on the Brandon defense. 

This included a pair of dangerous crosses from Ortego and Bookout in the 12th and 14th minutes. Dickson got in on the action with a pair of powerful left footed shots in the 17th and 24th minutes. The Warriors were unable to finish off their chances though and left the door open for Brandon.

The Bulldogs nearly walked through that door in the 32nd minute when Nygel Jobe chased down a pass that went over the top of the Warrior defense. Jobe rose and flicked the ball over the head of the opposing goalkeeper, but the shot went just right of goal. The half had arrived in a 0-0 deadlock. 

Oak Grove kept up their offensive pressure in the second half but Brandon centerbacks Conner Turner and Reece Gibson were really playing well consistently cutting out the Warrior’s chances. They faltered in the 53rd minute though in large part thanks to a fantastic pass from Cade Ortego.

Ortego had the ball at the top of the box in enough space to take a shot. However, he fooled everyone and laid a perfect pass right into the path of Cody Collins who ripped the shot home giving Oak Grove the 1-0 lead. 

Oak Grove did not let up following their goal as they continued to control the game. Unable to double their lead, the Warriors left the door cracked and with seconds left in the game Brandon finally walked through. 

The Bulldog’s Graham Harris sent in a dangerous cross from the left side and Tyler Eldridge rose above everyone. Eldridge headed the ball with perfect placement to the left side of the goal tying the game. The final whistle blew seconds later, and extra time was needed to determine a winner.

Oak Grove had the better of the chances in extra time but still could not score a game winner. After two extra time periods it seemed the game was heading for penalty kicks until Oak Grove pulled out some last second heroics of their own. In the 110th minute, seconds away from penalty kicks, Broc Bookout put in a corner and in a crowd of people. The Warrior’s Ethan Miller got his head on the ball sending it straight to the back of the net. The Warriors were 2-1 winners in this intense rivalry matchup.

Goals: Cody Collins (53’, Oak Grove), Tyler Eldridge (80’, Brandon), Ethan Miller (110’, Oak Grove)
Assists: Cade Ortego (53’, Oak Grove), Graham Harris (80’, Brandon), Broc Bookout (110’, Oak Grove)

Players of the Game
Oak Grove – Cade Ortego 
Brandon – Reece Gibson

Up next: Oak Grove will finish up the regular season next week with a pair of region games. A rematch with Brandon for the region title on Tuesday and a match with Petal on Thursday. 

Brandon were 1-0 winners over Petal Friday day night clinching a playoff berth in the process. They will now turn their attention to a rematch with Oak Grove on Tuesday. 

Other top results across the State this week:

Tuesday, Jan. 11
Desoto Central 0, Center Hill 2
St. Andrews 0, Germantown 1
Sumrall 2, South Jones 2
Florence 2, West Jones 0 
Neshoba Central 0, New Hope 7

Thursday, Jan. 13
Saltillo 3, Lafayette 1
Lewisburg 0, Desoto Central 0 – Lewisburg wins in a shootout
Sumrall 0, Northeast Jones 1
Newton County 3, West Lauderdale 0

Friday, Jan. 14
Clinton 2, Germantown 1
Starkville 4, Oxford 3
Itawamba AHS 1, Caledonia 2
East Central 4, Gautier 1
Petal 0, Brandon 1
New Hope 4, Ripley 5

Saturday, Jan. 8
Clarkdale 4, Newton County 1
Ocean Springs 3, Florence 6

A look ahead (Jan. 9 – Jan. 15)

MORE: Full boys soccer schedule

Games of the Week 

Tuesday, Jan. 18
Clinton at Madison Central

Thursday, Jan. 20
Northwest Rankin at Clinton

Other games to watch

Tuesday, Jan. 18
Brandon at Oak Grove
Olive Branch at Desoto Central
Starkville at Tupelo
Lewisburg at Center Hill
Pearl at Terry
East Central at Ocean Springs
Gulfport at Biloxi

Thursday, Jan. 20
Tupelo at Oxford
New Albany at Cornith 
St. Andrews at Sumrall
Long Beach at Pass Christian 
Starkville at New Hope

Friday, Jan. 21
Germantown at Madison Central
Itawamba AHS at Tupelo
Pearl at Warren Central
West Lauderdale at Starkville
Poplarville at St. Martin