Photo by Brad Bridges

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Super Shakes

By Robert Wilson
Photos by Brad Bridges

       Jackson Prep head coach Jon Marcus Duncan and assistant coach-goalkeeper coach TJay Busin noticed freshman Mason McCain had what takes to be an excellent keeper before the season.

       And McCain has proved to be just that, especially Monday night in a key MAIS Division I conference game against Hartfield Academy.

       The 5-foot-8, 155-pound McCain didn’t allow a goal during the 80 minutes of regular time, two 10-minute periods of overtime and then stopped the deciding shot on the fifth kick in the shootout to lead Prep to a 1-0 victory over Hartfield at Prep.

       Prep improved to 12-4-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play. Hartfield dropped to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

       After the 100 minutes, the teams went to the shootout, where each team gets five shots. Prep senior Austin Craft and Hartfield junior Silas Sorey scored, then Prep senior Matthew Mehrle and Hartfield sophomore Dereck Lazo scored, then both teams missed, then Prep senior Luke Smith scored and Hartfield missed, then Prep missed and McCain made a save on Hartfield’s last shot for victory to win the shootout 3-2.

       “Mason is one of the hardest working players on the team and he wants to be a great keeper,” Duncan said. “Mason certainly doesn’t play like a ninth grader. He is so poised and confident in the goal. Mason reads the game extremely well, makes very smart decisions as a goalkeeper. He plays well with his feet also. I’ve to give credit to TJay. He tells Mason to react to shots and not to guess in the shootouts. He earned the starting position. Mason has started 90 percent of the games. We also had great defensive play from (senior) Matthew Mehrle, (junior) Chris Owens and (senior) Warner Russ.”

       Duncan, a Prep and Mobile College graduate, has 28 state titles (14 boys and 14 girls) and has an 821-168-60 record – an amazing 83.0 winning percentage – in 24 seasons and is second in combined career wins in Mississippi history. He has a 450-80-29 boys record and a 371-86-31 girls record. Karl Friedrich, who finished with 831 victories in 32 seasons at Harrison Central, is the career leader in Mississippi.

       Hartfield coach Jake Benton was proud of his young team, especially the defense and sophomore goalkeeper Coleman Williams.

       “I have to give credit to my boys for being willing to sacrifice and suffer for each other this year,” said Benton, who has won five state championships (three boys and two girls) and has five state runner-up finishes (three girls and two boys) in his nine years at Hartfield. “We have one seventh grader, one eighth grader, six sophomores, two juniors and one senior in my starting 11. They never quit scrapping and that’s all I can ask for. They showed me last night that we can raise the standards even more. Prep is a very talented and organized team; Jon Marcus always has his teams organized well.

       “We didn’t allow them many clear-cut chances throughout the flow of the game, which I was very proud of my boys for. I thought it was a great team effort by the boys to defend as a whole. (Sophomore) Hayden McMinn does a good job communicating with the back line to stay organized in tough situations. Eighth grader Dylan Lazo played exceptional and has a high soccer IQ of closing down even though he’s not big in stature for a center back.

       “We didn’t have many chances going forward however I thought we stole the game in the first overtime, but a goal was called back for a foul throw. Coleman made two big saves in the shootout to give us a good chance of taking the game. I like our chances going forward. We’re not a big team in size or numbers, but we with the help of the Lord we’re pretty tough.”