(Editors note: Anthony VanCourt of the Gazebo Gazette contributed to this report)
Six prep soccer squads from the “Southern Six” will be playing for state championships in four different classifications this weekend.
The “Southern Six” will be represented in all four girls’ state title match-ups as well a pair of teams in the boys’ brackets after South State championship games Tuesday night.
On the girls’ side, Gulfport will represent the South in Class 6A after knocking off visiting Ocean Springs 2-1. The Lady Admirals, however, will have to wait until Monday for their shot at the title as the North State Class 6A championship game between Clinton and Lewisburg will be played on Thursday morning after being postponed Tuesday. The Mississippi High School Activities Association announced Wednesday morning that the Class 6A Girls Soccer Championship has been postponed until Monday at 6 p.m. at a site to be determined.
West Harrison upset defending state champion Florence 2-1 to move on to the Class 5A state championship match. The Lady Canes will face Saltillo Saturday at Brandon High at 4 p.m., in the title tilt.
In Class 4A, Stone nipped Bay High 1-0 to move on. The Lady Tomcats will face West Lauderdale Saturday at Brandon at Noon.
In yet another all “Southern Six” match-up in the South State finals, St. Patrick swatted OLA 7-1 to move on in Class I and SPHS will meet Tupelo Christian Prep School Saturday at Ridgeland High at Noon.
On the boys’ side, in Class 6A, Brandon beat visiting Gulfport 2-0.
In Class 5A, two-time defending state champion Long Beach knocked off Pearl River Central for the third time this season and the commanding 4-0 win Tuesday was the seventh straight South State championship appearance for the Bearcats. Long Beach will meet Lafayette County in the state championship Saturday at Brandon High at 6 p.m.
The Bearcats got two goals from Easton Van Norden as well as a goal apiece from Landon VanCourt and Dylan Kippes in the win, while Alexander Mink (Jr.), VanCourt and Ethan LaBorde provided assists to the winning effort. All of the scoring came in the first half.
The Bearcats were coming off an exciting 1-0 second-round win over South Jones in the second round as Vincenzo Jeanfreau nailed the game-winning kick from 30 yards out off an assist from LaBorde in the waning moments of the match.
That marked the second straight close 1-0 win in the playoffs for the Bearcats, after nipping Gautier by the same score in their opening postseason match. Easton van Norden tallied the only gal for Long Beach in the win over the Gators off an assist from Jeanfreau.
Also, arch-rivals Bay High and Pass Christian met Tuesday in the Class 4A South State championship and the Tigers edged past the Pirates 2-1 to advance. Bay High faces North Pontotoc Saturday at Brandon at 2 p.m.