The Meridian Star
For 51 minutes, the Lamar boys soccer team waited.
They sloshed through mud, traded blows and missed chances with visiting Central Hinds Academy in the MAIS Division 2A State Championship Saturday afternoon.
Frustration built up on both sides until Lamar midfielder Danny Weisner found the ball at his feet with a golden opportunity. With Central Hinds goalie Blake Holmes out of the net, Weisner lifted a ball from 30 yards out, sailing it over Holmes and into the net to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Weisner would find the ball in the box and once again bury it in the back of the net en route to an eventual 2-1 win over the Cougars and a second-straight state championship for Lamar.
“I saw the goalie come out and I just went for it.” Weisner said. “On the second goal, I just got it inside and scored. It feels great to be state champions again. We worked our hearts out today.”
The Raiders beat the Cougars in the state championship last season, traveling to Central Hinds and coming away with a 5-4 victory in penalty shootouts.
“It's big,” Lamar head coach Mike Crowe said of repeating as state champions. “We had some seniors who weren't on the championship team last season, and I think our kids played up. They wanted those guys to go out with a win.”
Nobody turned up their play as much as Weisner, who earned MVP honors after the game. After scoring the Raiders two goals, the junior narrowly missed a hat trick later in the second half.
Defender James Kenney also came up big for the Raiders on the day, finding Weisner for the assist on his second goal of the game.
“Danny' has had a great season,” Crowe said. “Today, they focussed in on him a little bit and ganged up to double team him a couple times. Danny has done a great job for us, and having the guys to feed him the ball behind him, helps. They find him, and Danny has a good nose for the net and puts it in there.
“That shot from way out was a tough one to make, but that is something we have seen from him all season. He’s done a great job for us all year.”
With both rivals hungry for a win, the game became chippy at times, as both teams traded the occasional shove throughout the 80 minutes as fans cheered and jeered on the sidelines.
Lamar also survived without its starting goalie, as Barrett Dudley colided with a Central Hinds player on a corner kick and had to leave at the 31 minute mark. Defender Blaine Mueller took over in the net for the Raiders, holding the Cougars scorless until Dudley returned early in the second half.
“It's been back and forth from last year,” Crowe said. “It was a real physical game when we played them at their field last year. It's been one of those things were they say, alright y'all got bragging rights but we are going to get it back. We have been lucky to win against them this year.”
Lamar players gave Crowe an icy shower during his post-game interview, as they snuck up behind to catch the coach by surprise. While Crowe has become used to the practice, the feeling of success never gets old.
“I'm glad they kind of missed me that time,” Crowe said laughing. “I was lucky, they are still pretty cold.”