Laurel falls 2-1 in epic State Games finals battle
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Juen 17, 2002
One gold medal soccer game on Sunday afternoon turned into nearly four games for the Laurel Blues Brothers and the South Madison County Lightning.
The two teams were battling for the 8-and-under boys State Games of Mississippi's gold medal at Meridian's Jaycees Field, before South Madison finally emerged with a 2-1 victory.
One fan said afterwards, the two squads played the equivilant of 16 quarters of soccer. The game lasted 2 1/2 hours.
Neither team scored in the four quarters of regulation. It went until the first half of the sixth overtime before Laurel's Hunter Estes scored a goal from 40 yards out on a kick that squirted past South Madison goal-keeper Cole Barlow to give Laurel the lead.
But because the team's were playing overtime, South Madison was still alive. Laurel was just two minutes from the gold medal when South Madison's Joshua Cook booted through a shot near goal out of a melee. That tied the game at 1-1 and it went into a seventh overtime.
The two team coaches agreed to play sudden death at this point. The reason given by the referee why there was no shootout after the first two overtimes was because in 8-and-under soccer play, there are no direct kicks allowed on goal.
The first sudden death period of 10 minutes went scoreless. Laurel had a couple of chances but Barlow made the saves.
In the second sudden death period, South Madison was able to turn back and attack and counter. David Huffman broke free and kicked a hard 20-footer at goal. The Laurel goalie made the stop, but the ball spun away, crossing the goal line and giving South Madison a 2-1 gold medal win.
Estes, who played strong all day as a mid-fielder, wondered why there was no shootout allowed.