By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Corinth scoring machine John Mathis was definitely missed when he was sidelined earlier this season with a broken collarbone.
But the Warriors (16-5-2), who host Florence (15-5-3) at 2 p.m. today in the MHSAA Class 4A state soccer quarterfinals, learned to live and play without him.
“That was a blow, but it gave our younger players an opportunity to begin to own some things in their games,” coach Gregg Parker said. “We used it as an opportunity to grow. The boys took it and made something of it.
“John has come back to a stronger team.”
Mathis, a senior forward, leads the Warriors in scoring with 29 goals. He was named the Journal’s Player of the Year as a sophomore.
“He’s playing like the old John,” Parker said. “He can create a spark. He’s quick and smart, a lethal combination.”
Tupelo’s unbeaten Lady Wave (20-0) had to overcome a deficit for the first time this season in Tuesday’s opening round 4-2 win over Northwest Rankin.
“It’s good to know that we can come back,” coach Shelly Miller said. “That taught us something.”
Tupelo hosts rival Clinton at 11:30 a.m. in the 6A state quarterfinals.
SLOW TRACK A CONCERN
South Pontotoc coach Horace Kitchens hopes a soggy home field will not be a disadvantage for his fast Cougars in today’s 4 p.m. 1A-2A-3A state quarterfinals match against Forest.
“We’re playing well right now, but I don’t know how much the wet field will hurt us,” he said. “We have a lot of speed.”
Eduardo Rocha, who plays three positions, including forward, leads South Pontotoc.