By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports
A pair of goals in extra time by Zachary Tuttle kept 14th-seeded Loyola alive in the LHSAA boys soccer playoffs as the Flyers halted the No. 19 DeRidder Dragons’ season 4-2 Wednesday night in a tense opening-round battle at Messmer Stadium.
The Flyers’ scores came from Declan Chmielewski, Spencer Pringle and Tuttle. Freshman keeper Hudson Moore had 7 saves.
Loyola (11-9-1) earned a trip to New Orleans for a second-round pairing Saturday at 1:30 in Tad Gormley Stadium against third-seeded Lusher Charter, the reigning Division III state champ.
The Dragons (10-12-1) came into the game wanting a physical game and they were fouling from the opening whistle. There were calls from the crowd for yellow cards early in the game, but the officials didn’t concur. This type of play disrupted both offenses, as Loyola mustered just a few chances, and DeRidder only had a pair in the first 25 minutes.
In the 27th minute a foul in the box awarded Loyola with a penalty kick and Chmielewski converted it for the 1-0 lead. Shortly after the first goal, a Dragons player got a yellow card just out of the box. The ball was played in and eventually found Pringle’s foot, and he doubled the lead to 2-0.
Both teams changed their style of play after halftime. Loyola went to a possession game, while DeRidder abandoned the physical play and tried to connect passes. In the 27th minute a goal by the Flyers’ Tripp Roemer was waived off for offsides, in a close call.
A couple minutes later, Tuttle was on a breakaway when Dragons keeper Caden Hendricks charged him, resulting in a violent collision that left Hendricks down for almost five minutes. This ignited DeRidder and the visitors went into full-on attack mode. The Dragons put a through ball into the box that bounced around until it popped out to the feet of Sean Meyle, who knocked it in to begin a comeback. With less than five minutes left in regulation, the Dragons had a corner that found Meyle, who tied it up.
In the first 10-minute OT, after an opening minute shot by Tuttle, DeRidder took charge in the first OT, but soon lost its edge and Tuttle was able to put Loyola ahead for good 3-2. The second overtime produced the final goal and settled many heart rates in the Loyola stands.
The only all-local matchup provided overtime drama as No. 21 Haughton upset No. 12 Northwood 2-1. The Bucs were able to get the decisive goal with less than a minute left in the second overtime to stun the Falcons (14-8-2). Haughton (8-13-2) will roll into Lee Hedges Stadium Friday at 7 to try to stay alive against No. 5 Caddo Magnet (16-8-1).
Three more local teams advanced. No. 11 Byrd defended its homefield against No. 22 H.L. Bourgeois, winning 4-1. The Yellow Jackets (15-6-4) got goals by Garrett Gulett, Mack Soul, Carson French and Matthew Booras. Andrew Stuart, Brodie Nguyen and Caleb Kids provided the assists. Byrd travels to No. 6 Sulphur for a second-round matchup this weekend.
No. !3 Captain Shreve defeated No. 20 Mandeville 6-2 at Lee Hedges Stadium. Collin Elston had a hat trick, Matt Miley added a pair of goals for the Gators (16-8-3), and Dixon Doege had one. Ande Bradford and Elston both contributed two assists and Conner Tisdale and Miley each added an assist. Keeper Caleb Lelena had five saves. The Gators roll down I-49 to face No. 4 Alexandria Saturday at 6 in a Division I contest.
The No. 21 Evangel girls (8-10-1) posted an upset at 12th-seeded Ascension Episcopal, coming home with a 4-2 overtime triumph. The Lady Eagles head back south in the second round to visit New Orleans and play Pope John Paul II in the Division IV bracket.
Photo by CHRISTY ROEMER