from staff reports
The Meridian Star
Philadelphia coach Adam Huddleston was understandbly excited.
His Tornadoes defeated visiting South Pontotoc 1-0 at Harpole Stadium earlier Tuesday evening to win the Class 1A/2A/3A North State championship. But what had him even more excited than a second straight state championship appearance, was how Philadelphia got back there.
“It’s unbelievable,” Huddleston said. “Our goal this season was to make the playoffs. And then once we got in the playoffs our goal was to push as far as we can.
“That’s what’s amazing. Last year everybody talked about the five seniors we had and how hard they played and how long they had been playing. This year, we didn’t have a senior on the field when we won. And that’s what is great about it is because these young kids coming up have a chance to do something great.”
That young group of Tornadoes, though, got an early goal when Grey Moorehead hit Abe Mars with a through ball. As the Cougars’ keeper came out to make a play, Mars lifted a shot right over.
And from there, Philadelphia made the goal hold up.
“The last 30 minutes of the game, South Pontotoc came at the goal with everything they had,” Huddleston said. “They were winning balls in the air and sending it back up field. They were really, really tough.”
In returning to the state championship game, which will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Clinton High School, Philly gets a rematch with defending state champion and perennial contender Sacred Heart.
“It’s always a very humbling time to make it to a state championship,” Huddleston added. “And it’s always an even greater time when you have a great opponent like Sacred Heart.”