PREP SOCCER: Dutchtown stops Sulphur in semifinals

Published 6:44 pm Saturday, February 18, 2023

SULPHUR — Down a man the entire second half and trailing 1-0, No. 5 Sulphur nearly tied the game in the closing minutes, but No. 9 Dutchtown repelled the Tors attack to advance to the Division I finals for the second consecutive year.

The Tors (18-4-4) played in their first semifinal game in program history.

“It is absolutely awesome when you look back at it now,” Sulphur head coach Trevor Foolkes said. “We lost today, but it was a great ride and a great journey. It was an exciting time for the team, and I am super proud of what these young men have accomplished.”

It was the Griffins’ (13-3-6) third consecutive 1-0 playoff win after taking out No. 1 Catholic-Baton Rouge in overtime in the quarterfinals and No. 8 St. Amant in the regional round. The Griffins will play in the Division I finals for the second consecutive year on Feb. 25 at Southeastern Louisiana’s Strawberry Field in Hammond against the winner out of No. 2 St. Paul’s and No. 3 Mandeville.

It was the Tors’ third one goal loss to the Griffins in the last three seasons.

Dutchtown’s Prestin Springer scored the only goal in the 12th minute on a header set up by Obi Ironi’s corner kick.

In the 79th minute, the Tors got a throw-in deep in Griffin territory, and Ethan Paiz launched the ball inside the 6-yard box. The Tors got off three point-blank shots with one hitting the post.

Six minutes before that, Neil Dupre had a 45-yard shot sail over the goal, and Kole Poncho tried to blast one in from 25 yards out, but Griffin keeper Josh Barrow made the stop.

The Tors played with 10 men from the 31st minute after leading scorer Robert Campos was sent off with a straight red for colliding with Barrow. Despite the numbers advantage for the Griffins, the Tors didn’t allow them to add to their lead. Sulphur goalkeeper Erick Zuniga made four saves.

“We go behind, then get a red card, but the guys just dug deep and worked their socks off,” Foolkes said. “That is what people ask what kind of team is it, and you saw it right there.

“We were playing a man down, and they never gave up and had an opportunity at the very end to tie it. We hit the post. That just sums them up. They have been through a lot in the last couple of years with the hurricanes and COVID. The guys just stuck together, and they are an awesome group of young men.”

Prior to the red card, Campos got a breakaway in the 19th minute but couldn’t get a shot off and had a low, fast 30-yard shot stopped by Barrow a minute later.

Just before halftime, both teams had a missed opportunity. Zuniga stopped a close-in header by Dutchtown’s Ethan Shanahan, and Dupre’s 20-yard free kick skimmed past the top right corner of the goal.