By Shawn Wansley
Jones College Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – History was made here Sunday night at Bobcat Soccer Field.
And it was all good.
Thomas Carlile (Athgarvan, Ireland) scored 34 seconds into overtime to lift Jones College to a 2-1 win over Southwest Mississippi in the MACJC championship match.
The victory gives Jones its first state championship in men’s soccer.
The win also gives Jones a 14-2 record, which is a school-record for wins in a season.
“We did not really set that goal (state championship) at the start of the year,” said Jones head coach Brendan Connolly. “We just wanted to have a good season and improve all of the time. I think a couple of weeks into the season we figured out we were a good team. We just kept getting better.”
The Bears took the lead late in the first half when Felipe Madero headed the ball into the goal on a corner kick from Joaquin Bermejillo at 43:38.
It remained that way until 69:33 when Steven Caston (Laurel) scored on a beautiful header off a long pass from Carlile.
“They go ahead and we had to dig deep again,” Connolly said. “Steven Caston came off the bench and had a great moment – a great goal.”
It did not take long in overtime as Carlile broke free and zipped the ball into the net at 90:34 setting off a wild Sunday night celebration in Ellisville.
“Tom has been scoring goals all year and did so at the end –a golden goal,” Connolly said. “We are just really happy right now. I think this is the seventh come-from-behind win we’ve had this season. That just shows the hunger and desire these boys had. I could not be any more proud of them.”
Callum Harley (Whitley Bay, England) was in goal for Jones and had another stellar effort.
The win does two things for the Bobcats.
First, it assures them of a berth in the NJCAA District playoffs in early November. And it means Jones will host the Region 23 Tournament later this week, possibly Oct. 26, Oct. 27 or Oct. 28.
But the Bobcats may not even play a game in the regional.
Southwest will face LSU-Eunice in a first round regional game.
If LSU-Eunice wins, the Bengals would play Jones the next day for the region title. However, if Southwest wins, Jones will be the region champion and will not have to play Southwest.
Regardless of what happens the remainder of postseason play, the future is very bright men’s soccer at Jones.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Connolly said. “We are all set up here to be successful and that’s what we want to do here from now on.”
Southwest falls to 13-3-1 on the year.