SOCCER: Pontotoc boys playing well at the right time

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

The Pontotoc Warriors soccer team has nearly wrapped up its regular season goal.
Pontotoc has all but won the Division 2-4A regular season title. Amory would have to beat the Warriors by five in tonight’s final regular season match to alter a likely 1-2 finish for the playoffs that begin on Tuesday.
First-place teams host a first-round match.
“We beat Tupelo at their place. That gave us a boost of confidence,” Pontotoc coach Michael Loden said. “I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence and we’ve been playing really well. If we’re playing well, yes, I think we have the talent to make run at it. But anything can happen and you need a little luck.”
The Warriors beat Tupelo 2-1 in the season’s third game. Two of their three losses came to Class 6A contender Madison Central and 5A contender Starkville.
The Starkville loss came before Loden had his cross country runners back.
Once everyone joined the team, Loden said it made for a versatile bunch that has allowed his Warriors to gain advantages against different opponents.
“We’ve got a pretty balanced team. That has allowed us to have some flexibility to do some different things,” Loden said. “We have several different formations.”
The Warriors have wins against Petal and Oxford. The lone tie came against West Harrison in a tournament in Brandon.
tough defense
Pontotoc (14-3-1, 5-0) is led by several players, among them ICC signee Piercen Burchfield, Rafael Vidano and Diego Vizarro.
Burchfield is a sweeper, Loden says, who controls the back.
“Very few teams get past our defense just because of him,” Loden said. “Fredy Gutierrez controls the midfield, Vidano, our leading scorer, plays forward.
“One thing about us is we are pretty versatile. We mix and match and do several different things when we have to. If we move Piercen to midfield, he can control the ball as well.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com