Southside will be happy when Kevin Jones graduates.
The Greenwood junior owned the Rebels this year.
Jones scored the eventual game-winner in the 14th minute to help lead the Bulldogs past Southside, 2-1, in 7A/6A-Central boys soccer. The loss put the Rebels’ postseason hopes in jeopardy.
It was almost six months ago when Jones kicked a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired to lift Greenwood past Southside and extend the Bulldogs winning streak at the time to 46 consecutive games.
Thursday’s boot didn’t have quite the same weight, but it was just as meaningful in the standings.
He zipped down the right wing, defender close and sent a strong, low shot from the the precise corner of the box on a diagonal. Southside goal keeper Jorge Picaso had the angle, but the ball went slightly under and beyond his dive and found the bottom opposite corner of the net. It build Greenwood’s (5-4 7A/6A-Central) lead to two just 14 minutes into the game.
"It’s just so cool that I know so many people from Southside. Just playing against them in a friendly way, but a competitive way, there’s nothing like that rivalry," Jones said.
Southside (4-5) has five games remaining to make up the necessary points to move into the top six of the 7A-Central power rankings and qualify for the state tournament. The quantity of the games is enough to make it possible, though, four of the five remaining opponents sit above the Rebels in the standings.
Daniel Ramirez finally cashed in a Southside opportunity in the 43rd minute after several near-misses. His header from a corner kick trimmed Greenwood’s lead to one goal and the Rebels quickly picked up play. They didn’t want to waste any more chances after the game had already been twice-delayed because of lightning. A second-half delay may have meant the game would be called early and in Greenwood’s favor.
The Bulldogs fended off several more frenetic Southside chances in the final 27 minutes, though.
"As soon as we had that lightning delay it helped them out tremendously," Greenwood coach Andrew Post said. "Then we came back from it and it was a different game altogether. But our guys played tough."
Greenwood scored just 57 seconds in the game on a goal from freshman Jarrod Cooper in close. And after a couple of Southside chances, Jones added his. Southside had a few more chances in the opening 40 minutes, but was turned aside by several saves from Baylee Moore and a pair of goal line clearances.
Rebels forward Coady Wooten had the most of those opportunities.
In the 21st minute he made a strong move through the middle of the pitch, marked, and sent a strong shot toward Moore from about 10 yards. The Greenwood keeper kicked it aside for a Southside corner kick, but the Rebels had another chance off that corner as the ball squirrelled out of the fray to the edge of the box. A Southside player sent a blistering shot back through the bunch that slipped through before Greenwood defender Logan Flatte, on the goal line, cleared it off the line and saved the shutout for the time.
Moore was huge in the final 10 minutes again as he stopped a pair of shots from Wooten and Logan Coleman from within 12 yards. Wooten’s from about 7. Both were high-caliber chances. Both parried away by diving stops.
"I told him before the game ‘I have to have your very best,’" Post said. "He played more than his very best. He played like an MVP tonight. Huge."
The win is Greenwood’s first against a 7A opponent since moving up from 5A and into the Central last year.
Southside 2, Greenwood 0
GIRLS — A pair of multi-sport athletes lifted the Lady Rebels.
Sarita Stegall scored Southside’s first goal in the 29th minute and Jordan Rainwater added some insurance in the 66th to clinch the win and keep Southside atop the Central standings.
Stegall and Rainwater are basketball teammates for the Lady Rebels in the winter and while Rainwater was a mainstay in the lineup last season, Stegall has seen her minutes grow each game this year.
Greenwood had more chances Thursday than they did in the teams’ first matchup earlier this year, but when the Lady Bulldogs lost a player in the 64th minute, any chances of a comeback were squashed. Rainwater potted the extra goal two minutes later.
"Had some chances early and could have capitalized on a free kick, it just didn’t go our way," Greenwood coach Andrew Post said. "Then going a girl down changes the entire outlook of the game. You see the tire deflate. They still played hard. It’s just hard to overcome a girl down."