DUTCHTOWN — For the second time this season, Catholic High School and Dutchtown had to resort to penalty kicks to decide the outcome.
This time around, it was the Bears that came out on top, outlasting the Griffins 3-2 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw Wednesday night.
“It’s nice to win a game in PK’s especially this late in the season,” Catholic coach Bo Cassidy said.
“It’s kind of unfortunate that it went there because it’s kind of a crap shoot but it fell our way.”
Although Catholic was eliminated from Division I, District 5 contention with a Baton Rouge High win over St. Amant, the road win over the Griffins probably secured an at-large berth in the playoffs.
Dutchtown, however, has lost two straight and is sitting squarely on the bubble.
“They are loaded year in and year out so we always have to have a solid game plan against them,” Dutchtown coach Larry Chambless said of Catholic. “We dug deep and got it to penalty kicks, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
After a scoreless two periods of overtime, Catholic converted its first three penalty kicks while the Griffins dug themselves in an early hole with Justin Rogers and Christian Presley both failing to get past CHS junior goalkeeper Connor Rabalais.
With Catholic having two chances to get just one goal to seal the win, Dutchtown goalkeeper Adam Pittmananswered the call with two stellar saves to keep the Griffins alive.
However, freshman Hays Greer sailed the Griffins’ fifth and final penalty kick well over the cross bar to seal the Bears’ win.
“He’s stepped up for us in the past,” Chambless said of Greer. “Sometimes you just miss, doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior.”
Early on, it appeared the game would never have to come to penalty kicks. Before the game, Cassidy told his team that they needed to come out with a killer instinct. They did just that in the first half as the ball seemed to stay on Catholic’s attacking third of the field.
After having a couple of chances narrowly miss, the Bears scored in the 24th minute on a header by junior midfielder Ben Westra from a corner Andrew Thriffiley.
“It was a great goal on a set piece,” said Cassidy. “Ben handled it really well. It’s tough to get goals like that in a tight field where there isn’t a lot of open space.”
The Bears had a chance to go up by two in first-half injury time when a poor clearance by Dutchtown senior defender Tyler Sarrazin gifted CHS midfielder Hayden Hunt an open shot inside the box, but he hit it wide, keeping the score at 1-0 going into halftime.
“The early goal was huge for us,” Cassidy said. “I felt we controlled the pace for much of the first half.
“I stressed at halftime that we needed to have a little more patience in front of the goal.”
Dutchtown had a tough time all night establishing any possession against CHS’ defense. The Griffins best attacking weapon was sending players forward, allowing Sarrazin to boot it into the box from long range. More times than not, Catholic’s backline would clear it without any real threat of a Griffins goal.
But with a little over five minutes left in the game, a desperate Sarrazin boomed a ball inside the box. Jostling for position, the Griffins’ Christian Presley collided with a couple of Catholic defenders, drawing a late penalty.
Sarrazin then stepped up to take the penalty kick and his shot ricocheted off the left upright and went in for a late equalizer to send the game into overtime.
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