All-Metro Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Cathedral’s Garrity stepped back to lead team – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ — Cathedral senior Joseph Garrity said he knew this season was going to be tough before it even started. Green Wave lost six seniors and defenseman Paxton Junkin did not return for his senior season.

With his experience and desire to help the team win at all costs, he resigned to take on a leadership role. His ability to lead the team by example as a goaltender and midfielder earns him the Natchez Democrat All-Metro Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Head coach Dennis Hogue, in an interview after Garrity’s final game, said he always built the team and was a student of the game. They needed his expertise with a young squad to provide for the future.

Cathedral didn’t have a JV team because the junior players had to play college-age at varsity and he was the only senior on the team.

Interim head coach Rick Simons asked him to take on the role of midfielder to help the team after a loss to Oak Forest. He performed and it made a difference in their performances as they played well in losses to Brookhaven Academy and Copiah Academy.

“I was taught to leave something better than you found it. I think I left it better than I found it,” Garrity said. “This team will be strong next season. The younger children will grow for a year and should be taller next year. You’re going to be pretty good.”

It was the first time he had gone a game without a goal since his freshman year. The first match was tough, he said. If he didn’t have a goal, he usually had to be in midfield for 10 minutes to try to score. The tight time challenged him to give 110 percent in the sprint to the final whistle. It took him until the BA game to figure out the best way to approach the game.

Instead of going too hard and returning home hurt and battered, he stepped back and worked the ball better.

The team started clicking and he started helping the team get closer to winning against their opponents. There were a few games they could have won but lost, he said. They had a few chances against Brookhaven Academy, if they had scored they might have turned their season around.

Cathedral finished the district season 2-6 with wins over Adams County Christian School. They missed the playoffs after managing to break through a 10-year drought the year before.

Garrity’s proudest moments of his career came from his junior season. It’s his season, he said. Beating ACCS 2-1 to make the playoffs was something special, and a 1-0 loss to Hartfield Academy in the first round was the best he’s ever played in goal.

“It was the toughest game I’ve ever played in goal. However, it was my proudest moment,” Garrity said. “The Hartfield players who’ve been destroying teams all year came up to me after the game and told me and Paxton we were good players. Their head coach told me I was the best goalkeeper they ever played. That made me proud.”

The game he should be most proud of had to be the last game against AC this season. Garrity played his last game in midfield, desperate to score against city rivals. He noted that he had never scored against her.

It was difficult to create chances in the first half as the Rebels doubled and tripled. It worked as he couldn’t score and it kept the Green Wave off the board. Head coach Dennis Hogue urged him to pass the ball more often, and he did.

The first goal was an assist for John Carter and got the ball rolling as he ended the game with four assists. It was an emotional end to his career and 19 years that Garritys played football for Cathedral.

“I’ve played soccer since I was three and four years old. I grew up playing with my siblings and Cathedral. It hit me all at once after the game,” Garrity said. “It was pretty weird for the next few days. I knew I would never go to soccer practice again. It was tough there for about a week.”

The senior gave everything for the program. Before the final whistle against Brookhaven Academy on January 13, he fell to the ground exhausted after covering every blade of grass. It was a fun but tough season.

Garrity said he will miss football but knew his career had to end somewhere. He will visit Ole Miss and go to law school. He said the Footballer of the Year honor is a pat on the back.

“Every once in a while, a pat on the back feels good. It means someone saw your hard work and the hard work paid off,” Garrity said. “Football is not an individual sport. It’s a team sport. I would be nobody without the guys on the team and without Dennis and Rick pushing us to do our best. It all starts with practice.”

Leave a Comment