By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Payne Horan is as athletic a goalkeeper as they come.
Unfortunately for the Grenada High keeper, he faced a fury of shots from an up-tempo, athletic Tupelo High squad on Friday night.
The Golden Wave tallied each of its goals in the first half as it won the Division 2-6A opener for both teams at Tupelo High School, 4-0.
“We struggled at first to put stuff on frame,” Wave coach Harris Faucette said. “And then that first one (goal) kind of opened it up for us.
“We were able to get some more in pretty quick after that.”
Brandon Wheeler got things going for the Wave (4-3-2, 1-0) a little more than two minutes into the contest, drilling one into the right-hand side of the goal.
Several shots and nearly 30 minutes later, the Wave caught fire, scoring three goals in a span of three minutes. Luke Mason scored his second of two goals in that stretch on a header off a beautiful corner kick by Parker Rose.
Forrest Timmons scored the final Wave tally.
Even though the Wave maintained possession for the majority of the game, keeping it inside Grenada’s territory, constantly on attack, Horan thought there were one or two of those goals he should have prevented.
“But he said one of them was knuckling so bad,” said Curry, whose team dropped to 5-4 overall. “He said it came right at him just like a (knuckleball pitch in) baseball.”
But the game could have been a lot more lopsided if it weren’t for Horan, who, the last time he played on the Golden Wave field, was a member of the Chargers football team. The junior threw two touchdowns and rushed for a score in the Chargers 27-21 loss to the Wave on Sept. 30.
“Payne is just a heckuva goalie,” Curry said. “He’s a heckuva athlete with great hands, good eyes, and that’s why he’s in there.
“He’s out here just having fun. I told him, against a top-ranked team in the state like this, to go out, have fun and play relaxed. That’s what he did.”
(G) Tupelo 9, Grenada 0: Abby Phillips and Katie Taylor each scored two goals, while Abbie Banko added two more and two assists, as the Lady Wave remained unbeaten (9-0, 2-0).