Photo/Zac Chamblee

Like the Sumrall Bobcats, the Lady Bobcats are rolling right along in year four of their program’s existence. Since mid-November, they’ve won 10 of their last 12, collecting eight shutouts along the way. The latest came Thursday night against cross-county rival Purvis. 

Behind two goals from Caragan Childs, three more courtesy of Kylie McNair, Keagan Pierce and Sydney Trihoulis, and another clean sheet from goalkeeper Amerika Espinoza, the Lady Bobcats cruised past the Lady Tornadoes, 5-0. 

“It was a good win for us,” Sumrall coach Todd Siders said. “I thought we executed well and moved the ball well and took advantage of our opportunities.”

After starting the year 1-3 with losses to Petal, South Jones and D’Iberville, Siders’ Lady Bobcats (11-4-1) have now won 10 of their last 12. 

“We played a very tough schedule right off the bat,” he said. “I think it helped. We got to see where we were and identify what we needed to clean up.”

The competition no doubt dipped a little after that stretch, and they’ve taken advantage in recent weeks. For the opposition in that span, goals have been hard to come by when facing Sumrall. Meanwhile, they’re often flowing for the Lady Bobcats and specifically Caragan Childs, who has put together an incredible junior campaign with plenty matches left to play. 

According to MaxPreps, Childs leads the state in goals scored with 40, which ranks sixth nationally. With fewer goal-scorers around her, she’s already nearly doubled her total from last season. That comes as no surprise to Siders, who told Childs before the season that his goal for her was to break the state record one day. 

“She’s just a fantastic player,” Siders said. “A rare blend of power and speed with an incredible left foot. She knows she’s the best player on our team. We need her to score, and we ask her to.”

At this point, Siders is unsure of where Childs ranks in the players he’s coached, citing that there’s still much she can learn. 

“There’s still more to her game that I want her to develop. Just that knack of knowing where the goal is and getting a little more finesse and burying every opportunity she gets. If she does that, there’s not many players better than her.”

Thanks to Childs and a boatload of other underclassmen, the Lady Bobcats (4-0 in region play) are close to clinching yet another district championship. With postseason play right around the corner, the team is peaking, and Siders says their experience gained from last year has a lot to do with where they’re at today. 

“We got good chemistry. All the girls like each other, and they get along. It’s fun to coach whenever you have that.”

Both Sumrall teams will return to action Friday at home against McComb. 

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