Baton Rouge High prevails over Dutchtown

Playing a district rival for the third time in one season was a tall order, but it was one Baton Rouge High handled with poise in the opening round of the Division I playoffs Saturday evening.

Behind goals from Jonathan Paz Brandel and Jowad Abraham, the 11th-seeded Bulldogs played steady before pulling away from No. 22 Dutchtown for a 2-0 win at Baton Rouge High.

The two squads, which finished behind third-seeded Catholic High in District 5-I, split a pair of regular-season matches. Baton Rouge (14-9-4) won the most recent meeting 2-0 at Dutchtown.

Saturday’s contest produced similar results and an identical score.

“Dutchtown had a good game plan, and that’s why it was so close for most of the game,” Baton Rouge High coach Richard Harsch said. “It is a little tougher knowing you’re going to see a team for the third time. Of course (Dutchtown coach Larry Chambless) does a great job with his team.”

The win advances Baton Rouge into the regional round to play at No. 6 Jesuit, a 5-0 winner over Comeaux. Dutchtown ends its season at 10-11-3.

Baton Rough High got off nine shots on goal, but just three in the first half. It didn’t keep the Bulldogs from taking a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

Grant Odenwald sent a pass to Paz Brandel, who broke clear of the defense on the left side. Paz Brandel put his kick in the right side of the net past diving goalie Jesse Dubose.

Dubose finished the game with six saves.

Baton Rouge High put the game away in the 72nd minute when Kiet Truong sent a perfect pass for Abraham into the penalty box. Playing Dubose one-on-one, Abraham dribbled right before placing his kick in the left side of the net.

“(Baton Rouge High) is a skilled team. When you run into a skilled team you can’t make mistakes, and you have to capitalize on opportunities,” said Chambless, whose team got off five shots on goal.

“We actually had more opportunities tonight than the first time we lost 2-0 to them. We didn’t capitalize, and that’s been an Achilles’ heel for us all year.”

Dutchtown had a chance to break on top in the 14th minute. Nick Teaford passed to Jeremy Thompson, who was right of the goal. Thompson centered the ball right back, but Teaford’s kick was stopped by the Bulldogs goalkeeper.

Late in the half, the Griffins’ Lorenz Geisemann tried to redirect a corner kick into the net, but the Bulldogs defense cleared it out.

In the 54th minute, Thompson had a chance of his own at close range following Evan Wilfong’s throw in. Thompson’s kick sailed over the goal.

Ryan Redmond chased down a pass in the box 71st minute, but the Bulldogs defense closed to block off a path for his shot as well as a follow chance.

“The first (game against Dutchtown) we didn’t finish,” Harsch said. “The last game was similar to this one, but it’s a lot more intense being the playoffs. Both teams came out playing real gritty.”

Next up for Baton Rouge High is a road match up with perennial soccer power Jesuit.

“We had a tough out-of-district schedule for this reason,” Harsch said. “We’ve played most of the top teams and competed well. It gives us some confidence going into the next round.”