Byrd boys take Group A title at Airline Tournament

JUST SHORT: Airline fails in its attempt to tie the match against Minden with a late goal. (Photo by DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports)

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

Airline High School put on a successful boys’ tournament this past weekend, filled with many competitive matches and some nail-biting results.

Byrd won the title in Group A, going 2-0-1, posting a hard fought 1-1 tie with DI power Dutchtown, and a 3-0 victory over Benton. The Yellow Jackets started with a classic battle against rival Captain Shreve, winning 2-1 on Thursday. Shreve also tied Dutchtown in a match that saw the Gators go up 3-1 early in the second half. Dutchtown crawled back to within a goal, and as the clock was expiring, a heart-breaking shot went into the net with about a half-minute left, resulting in the 3-3 final.

Group B had its share of drama, with the last two games going down to the wire Saturday afternoon.

Parkway and Northwood started the drama. Parkway struck first, only to have Northwood score two unanswered to lead 2-1. Then the best assist I’ve seen so far this season happened. With time running short, Parkway’s Nolan Dean had the ball on his 35-yard line. He passed up an easy feed to a winger and laced a rocket 50 yards into the wind, hitting forward Brasen Teutsch in stride behind the Northwood defense. Teutsch calmly passed the ball into the net, by the diving keeper, for the equalizer and a 2-2 tie.

The result set up Minden and Airline for a winner-take-all game for the title. This game went up and down the field with both teams having chance after chance to score, denied by unlucky bounces and some nifty defensive play. Minden was able to finally punch one in to take the Group B title, 1-0.

Haughton won Group C, with a 3-0 record, highlighted by the play of Tournament MVP Carter Ebarb.

Players voted to the all-tournament team were Airline’s Jefferson Garcia, Danny Rayo and Max Tinkis; Benton’s Ethan Bihler, Byrd’s Gordon Brown and GG Gullutt; Calvary’s Jake Bloxham and Ashton Hester; Shreve’s Andrew Bradford, Reese Wren, and Reid Grant; Evangel’s Christian Lopez and Caleb Ewert; Haughton’s Jose Montes and Abdul Zidan; North Caddo’s Isaias Holguin and Daniel Gallagher; Northwood’s Aaron Poche and Osvaldo Martinez; Parkway’s Nolan Dean and JR McGaugh; Minden’s Colin Campbell, Alec Simpson, and Braxton Glover; and Dutchtown’s Obi Ironsides and Ethan Shannahan.

Loyola boys, Shreve’s girls and both Evangel teams all played in the St. Frederick tournament. The Evangel boys and Shreve girls went 3-0 and were champions in their brackets. The Loyola boys went 1-2, with all three score lines being 1-0. The Evangel girls played only two games, both finishing in ties.

The Bossier boys team went to the Grace Christian Tournament, opting to just play two games, with victories over Alexandria and Menard. The Bearkats started the week with a 2-1 victory over a strong Benton team.

In early week action, the Parkway boys beat Ruston 4-0, with a goal by Daniel Lee and three from Nolan Dean. An assist was credited to Garrett Neuman.

On the girls side, Loyola had a rare midweek trip to Baton Rouge, tying a feisty St. Amant team 4-4 on Thursday. Friday, the Lady Flyers played consensus DIII top-ranked Parkview Baptist. They overcame illness and injuries and brought home a 3-1 victory.

In the battle of the “Norths,” the Northwood girls traveled to North Caddo on Wednesday and came away with the unofficial North crown, winning 2-1. The first goal came off a corner kick from Shylah Frake that Morgan Harrison put in the goal. The game-winner came unassisted by forward Charlie Tanzino.

The Byrd Lady Jackets traveled Saturday for their annual matchup with five-time reigning DII state champion St. Thomas More, who is nationally-ranked No. 5 this season. They were able to keep the game close, eventually falling 3-1, a great building block for the Lady Jackets.