Second half goal lifts St. Thomas More past Ben Franklin for boys state soccer title

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HAMMOND – The second No. 1 vs. No. 2 state title game this week pitted top-seed Ben Franklin against second-seed St. Thomas More, the defending Division II boys champions.

St. Thomas More senior Ethan Breaux scored the winning goal on a second-half corner kick for a 2-1 victory Friday at Strawberry Stadium.

The game started fast and stayed that way. Ben Franklin drew first blood on a corner kick 17 minutes into the match when Braylen Burrell volleyed a ball to Jacob Chapital who was able to slip the ball past Cougars keeper Aiden Farrar.

Within two minutes, St. Thomas More countered with a long shot on target by Courtland Williams which whistled by Falcon keeper Jacob Russell. While Williams was celebrating, the off-side flag went up to preserve the 1-0 Falcons lead.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, Ben Franklin almost cashed in on another corner kick which found Jameson Young but Farrar was able to deflect a well-struck shot over the goal. Five minutes later, Farrar came up big again to deflect another ball wide off a corner.

The Cougars scored a classic goal in added time in the first half to tie the match. Hayes Wallace was able to gather the ball and dribble two-thirds of the field before passing off to junior Chris Williams. That sequence set up a pass to his brother Courtland Williams, and the senior buried a shot-range effort past Russell.

Not even a driving rainstorm early after halftime could stop the heat and intensity on the field in a second half with so much at stake.

Russell denied St. Thomas More on a point-blank effort, and Farrar was able to come up with a save on a long throw from the Falcons.

With 20 minutes to go, Breaux took a tremendous shot that Russell was unable to catch cleanly. The ball was deflected back to the foot of Breaux, the match MVP, who pounded in the game winner.

Of course, with 20 minutes left, the Cougars had the momentum but needed to see the lead to the final whistle. Their attack served as a great defense as the Cougars kept putting pressure on the Falcons. With 17 minutes left, Chris Williams was able to fpounce on a bobbled kick by Russell but his ensuing bicycle kick went just over the goal to the amazement of the crowd.

Ben Franklin had two more chances to score on corner kicks but Farrar was up to the challenge.

“We were rattled in the first half but came together and finally regained our composure and started to play our game and we were able to finish the game out,” St. Thomas More head coach John Plumbar said.

Ben Franklin, led by eight seniors, ended a fine season at 21-4-3.

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Alan DeRitter

Soccer Analyst/Coach

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2013 – Present…Head Soccer Coach, De La Salle High School 2007 – 2011…Head Soccer Coach, Archbishop Shaw High School 2004 – Present…Director of Coaching for Soccer Innovations of America 2006…Asst. Head Coach, St. Martin’s Girls Team 2006…ODP Louisiana Staff Coach 1986-2005…Brother Martin High School; Head coach 1986; 1994 -2004 State Champions 2000 2000 District 10 Div. I Coach of the…

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