By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
The MHSAA Class 4A girls state soccer semifinal between Newton County and Pontotoc will be a game of focus.
After waiting all week to play its semifinal match – which was originally scheduled for Tuesday but has been postponed three times due to weather – Marty Pettit just hopes his Pontotoc team is “mentally focused” come 4 p.m. today at “The Ditch” in Pontotoc.
The Lady Warriors have already defeated the Lady Cougars twice in a span of 12 months – in December’s regular-season meeting and in last season’s state semifinals.
That, of course, doesn’t mean anything entering today’s contest.
“If you’re a competitor, you’re going to step up and play,” Pettit said. “The team that is going to be the most focused is the team that is going to come out on top.”
Both Newton County and Pontotoc have gone seven days since they last played. The Lady Cougars defeated Lewisburg 5-0 in last Saturday’s quarterfinal, while the Lady Warriors won their quarterfinal match, 4-0, over Amory the same day.
Pettit’s squad has practiced outdoors all week despite the muddy, rainy and snowy conditions.
He added that if the road conditions in Newton County weren’t so bad on Thursday, then the two teams would have played that day.
The winner of their state semifinal – the last to be played in the state this week – will play Northeast Jones in the 4A championship match scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday at Clinton High School.
The title game was originally scheduled to be played at 9:30 this morning in Clinton. All of the other classifications’ state title matches, including the Class 4A boys one involving Amory and Florence, will be played today in Clinton.
“We don’t want the field conditions to play a huge factor in it,” Pettit said of today’s match. “I want Newton County to play the best game they can play.”
This week’s delays have caused Pettit to have a hectic week.
“It’s tough balancing teaching and coaching right now,” said Pettit, who has had players constantly stopping by his classroom the past couple of days, asking if he knew when their state semifinal match was going to be played. “My phone died at 2 p.m. yesterday (Thursday).”
Added the coach, while on the phone with this reporter Friday morning: “Since I’ve been talking to you, a couple of messages have been left on my voice mail.”
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org