The win sends the Chargers to their first ever MHSAA Class 5A title.
“I’m in shock. All year we’ve been working to get there and to get to the championship game is something special,” Oxford senior Baxter Elliott said. “I thought it was going to be a dog fight. Last year we played them to the very end and they outed us in the last couple of minutes. To have a 3-0 lead, I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Elliott got the Chargers (16-3-3 overall) going in the 10th minute when he converted a second penalty kick attempt after Starkville’s keeper came off the line too early on the first shot.
Three minutes later Hunter Stewart scored his first of two goals on the night when he jumped on a turnover by a Starkville defender and blasted a shot from a few strides inside the penalty box. The rising shot tucked just under the crossbar to push Oxford’s lead to 2-0.
In the 30th minute Stewart scored again. On a very similar play, Stewart pressured the Starkville defender into coughing the ball up on the edge of the box. After taking a couple stutter steps, Stewart caught the keeper too far out and lined another shot just under the crossbar.
“We practice going back post every practice so I just went back post both times and it just happened to go on,” Stewart said.
Taylor Wise scored Starkville’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute to keep the Yellowjackets (15-2-1) from being shut out for just the second time this season.
Oxford’s three goals are the most Starkville has surrendered this season.
With the win, Oxford advances to play Pearl in Clinton on Saturday in the program’s first title game.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Below is a post-game interview with Stewart:
For more from the game checkout Wednesday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE. (January 30, 2013)