Clinton and Brandon prepare to play in 6A soccer championship

The Arrows and Bulldogs meet at Ridgeland High School Saturday with the state title on the line
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 8:55 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Clinton and Brandon will meet in the the boys’ Class 6A state soccer championship on Saturday.

The Arrows (20-0-1) are the defending champions, and have allowed just ten goals all season.

“That’s just the thing we’ve preached to our team the whole year, is being the hunted versus the hunter, that we were last year,” said Arrow head coach Tyler Wade. “Having a really successful season has, I think, has just made the target bigger and bigger and bigger.”

The Bulldogs (18-2-1) were the runners-up in 2021, and are hoping to prevent the repeat.

“Motivation is high,” said Bulldog senior Graham Harris. “We want to win, so it’s self-motivated at this point, it’s who wants it more.”

Wade and Brandon head coach Randy West have known each other for a long time, and have a lot of respect for one another.

“Coach Wade has done one heck of a job for them, to be undefeated this year, they have a chance to go back-to-back, and it’s really hard to in any kind of sport,” West said. “They’re really well coached, and they’re a really strong team, but we’re looking forward to it.”

“[They’re] definitely a team we compare ourselves to, and always try to compete with at the highest level,” Wade said.

Not only are the coaches familiar with each other, so are the players. A couple of the players are on the same club teams.

“They play with each other for a while, but for those two hours they’re going to be against each other,” West said. “Once the result is there, I think they become friends again.”

The extra knowledge should make the game more interesting.

“When their players might know what your strengths and weaknesses are, I do think it raises the stakes a little bit,” Wade said.

While they are friends, there has still been some chirping this week.

“We’ve been texting back and forth, a little heated here and there, but it’ll be a good game,” said Bulldog senior Nygel Jobe.

The championship game will be played at Ridgeland High School, which is only 26 miles from Brandon High School, and just 15 miles from Clinton High School. With local teams playing this game locally, the atmosphere at the game should be electric.

“I think that’s probably the most exciting part, is we know Clinton is going to bring a large group, we’re going to have a large group there,” West said. “Our kids are just excited about it.”

“We’ve been getting texts that everybody is going to be there,” Jobe said. “Hopefully it’s a packed house, student section. It’s just going to be a good game.”

Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Ridgeland High School Saturday. The game will be preceded by the Class I championship game, which will feature another local team, St. Andrew’s Episcopal against Sacred Heart (Hattiesburg). The Class I championship starts at 2 p.m.

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