By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
As soon as the final whistle blew, there was no doubt what Thursday’s game meant to the Bossier boys soccer team.
It set off a wild celebration by the Bearkats, not just because it was a 1-0 win over Loyola that gave Bossier the district championship.
Instead, it was because this was a long time coming.
Loyola came into the game having won six straight district titles – almost all of those clinched by beating Bossier.
“I’m happy for my seniors because they’ve come up short against Loyola the last three times,” said Bossier coach Orlando Medlin. “This means a lot. We are trying to build something at Bossier and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Bossier, now 17-2, came into the game as the No. 4 team in the Division III power rankings. It’s the seventh straight win for the Bearkats.
“We were disciplined tonight and were able to contain their long balls,” Medlin said. “We didn’t let calls get to our head like it can sometimes.”
Bossier’s Felix Deras was a problem for the Flyers throughout the night. The Bearkat forward knocked home a deflected pass in front of the goal to give Bossier a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” said Loyola coach Mark Matlock. “We gave up a goal and we ended up having to chase the game. That’s been kind of a season theme for us.”
The Bearkats spent a lot of time on the Flyers’ end of the field as they dominated the time of possession in the first half.
In the seventh minute, Loyola freshman goalkeeper Hudson Moore knocked a free kick over the top of the goal to keep the Bearkats off the board before Deras put Bossier on the board four minutes later.
Bossier also had a goal disallowed in the 17th minute for offsides.
One of Loyola’s few chances came in the final two minutes of the first half when Bossier goalkeeper Marco Rodriguez fumbled the ball 10 yards in front of the goal. The Flyers’ Zachary Tuttle rushed in and had visions of an empty net but Rodriguez gathered it back before Tuttle could control it.
Ten minutes into the second half, Loyola had its best opportunity with a free kick just outside the penalty box, but was deflected away. That was followed by a corner kick that was knocked away by the Bearkats.
Rodriguez had a couple of diving saves in the final 10 minutes as the Flyers tried to apply the pressure in an effort to tie the game.
“I feel pretty good knowing that’s the (number) 4 seed,” Matlock said. “I think we are in it with a chance for sure. If we can play like we did in the second half and get a better start, then I think we have a shot in the playoffs.
The Flyers (9-8) will play at Byrd Saturday in a non-district game to close the regular season.
Photo by John James Marshall