Playoff Soccer: Hornets grind out win over Magee

Published 4:37 pm Saturday, February 3, 2024

LOYD STAR — It took 80 minutes for Loyd Star to finish off Magee and claim a 6-0 victory in the first round of the MHSAA Class I Boys Soccer Playoffs. Nathan Mills finished with a hattrick in the match. 

Magee actually began the match on the front foot applying a high line of pressure and congesting midfield. Loyd Star weathered the initial storm and then launched attack after attack on goal for the remainder of the half. 

Mills scored his first goal of the game seven minutes into the first half on a breakaway opportunity. He would have several more chances in the first half, each shot narrowly missing the far post as the Magee keeper was beaten. Magee defended well for the next 31 minutes but gave up another goal to Mills with two minutes left in the first half. 

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Loyd Star battled in the second half to create goal scoring chances again and was able to capitalize with 13 minutes left. Mills calmly scored to put the Hornets up 3-0. His hattrick goal broke the Magee defense. Senior Cooper Reid scored with three minutes left to put Loyd Star up 4-0. 

Hornet senior Caden White scored twice in the final two minutes to finish the scoring at 6-0. Head Coach Jordan Lea told his team after the match they overcame the elements and Magee’s defense. Reid was happy to score in the game. 

“It felt good to score on senior night. I had two chances against Brookhaven last week and I’m glad I put it in,” Reid said. “The rain affected our play. We had to make adjustments at halftime. It is more of a mindset change. You have to make softer touches and not run as fast or else you will make a mistake and slip.” 

Reid said if they can play their game and play smart they will have a good chance to beat St. Patrick next week at home in the second round of the playoffs. He added the match should be a good contest between the two programs. The playoffs mean each game could be his last on the soccer field. He graduates in May. 

“I’ll miss the people. I moved here my eighth grade year. I have made strong bonds,” Reid said. “I’ll miss my friends when I leave. I’m close with a lot of the sophomores because my brother is in that age group. I’m also close with a couple of seniors.” 

One might recognize Reid from playing under the Friday Night Lights for Loyd Star. He was a kicker for the school and hopes to get a chance to kick at Co-Lin Community College. Reid said after he goes to Co-Lin he will move on to Mississippi State. 

“I plan to study electrical engineering. It is a field that interests me,” he said. “Electrical engineering is a broader job space.”