By Gene Phelps and Brandon Speck
Mississippi high school soccer’s a cold weather sport, but sometimes it’s just too cold.
The frigid temperatures blanketing Northeast Mississippi have forced soccer practices inside and postponed scheduled matches.
“The weather’s bad every year, but the last few days have been very bad,” Tupelo boys coach Harris Faucette said. “We’re practicing inside (Monday). It’s hard to get anything done outside when it’s this cold.”
Tupelo’s home boys and girls division matches scheduled for today against Grenada were postponed until Jan. 13 because of the weather.
At South Pontotoc, the defending North 1A-2A-3A champion Lady Cougars practiced indoors on Monday.
“We worked on ball drills and conditioning,” coach Horace Kitchens said. “I didn’t want to miss a practice. I believe every time you touch a ball you get a little bit better.
“I would have liked to have practiced outside, but we would have all ended up in the emergency room.”
South Pontotoc has an open date today, but would not have played, Kitchens said, because of the extreme cold.
“We played five years ago in eight degrees at Columbus,” he said. “Kicking a ball is like kicking a brick bat. I had some players who had to go to the hospital after breathing in all that cold air. I don’t want to play when it’s below freezing.”
The cold weather isn’t affecting Baldwyn basketball.
The Bearcats’ scheduled games at Itawamba AHS today were postponed to Feb. 14, but more for scheduling reasons than the weather.
Basketball games will only be postponed if one of the schools participating were closed today because of weather.
“We took some time off during Christmas,” Baldwyn boys coach Jason McKay said. “Thought that was good for the kids to get away and get refreshed. There’s really not a break from here on out.”
This season is a week longer than last season. The state tournament doesn’t wrap up until March 15.
The tournaments are scheduled for the week of Feb. 24 through March 1. The state tournament begins March 7 in Jackson.
“What I’m concerned about is the season being longer,” McKay said, “the mindset of the kids.”
Baldwyn is 13-1 and hosts East Union on Friday.
On the subject of the postseason, the deadline for submitting a bid to host an MHSAA North Mississippi basketball tournament is Jan. 17. Bids may be faxed to MHSAA District 1 secretary Larry Williams at 841-2188.