Central Lafourche overcomes gritty ‘Cats
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — East St. John coach Paul Dupuy called it the best defensive match his young team had played all season long. Wildcats forward Eric Joseph agreed.
It provided for a great game and a key building block for the Wildcats Friday night, though it was not enough to net an upset of a strong Central Lafourche team, which came away with a 2-0 victory at Joe Keller Memorial Stadium.
The Trojans’ Ryan Breaux scored both of his team’s goals, the latter coming just before the game’s final whistle to put a finishing touch on the night’s contest.
The Wildcats dropped to 5-9 on the season and 4-4 in district play, though the young team had much to be encouraged about.
“We’ve been practicing extremely hard for this,” said Joseph. “We made some mistakes. We need to execute better. We know it. But we played hard as a team tonight. We lost going full speed.”
Central Lafourche coach Simon Badeaux said that the Trojans (13-7-1) were pushed and had to earn it.
“(East St. John) played really hard tonight. They did a good job on defense of taking us out of our game,” said Badeaux. “We like to play a possession game, and they made us go more direct. This was a game that we had to keep our heads all 80 minutes.’
“They created some opportunities for themselves. And when they got them, they were good ones.”
That was true, but something of a point of frustration for the Wildcats, who had several strong chances but came up short.
What looked like a Wildcats goal in the first half was negated by an offsides penalty. 16 minutes into the second half, ESJ’s Antonio Barrera had a shot at an open net, but missed wide while pressured.
Then, with four minutes remaining, a chance for ESJ to tie things up wasn’t to be after Central Lafourche committed a foul in the box. ESJ’s Rico Franco attempted the penalty kick, but his shot was high of the goal.
“The ball didn’t bounce our way on a few of those. That was an especially tough break,” said Dupuy. “But (Franco) is a guy I’ll go to every time in that spot. He’d been pretty much 100-percent on those. He’s one of our field marshalls.”
Breaux, said Badeaux, has been a major playmaker all season for Central Lafourche.
“He controlled the center-midfield. He’s gonna get his chances,” said Badeaux. “Tonight, he made two of them count.”
Dupuy was very pleased with the team’s effort on defense, as well as its ability to shake off the aforementioned tough plays.
“We want them to step up and pressure the ball, and they really did that tonight,” said Dupuy. “We made a few mistakes. We’ve got a lot of freshman and sophomores out there. But overall, the guys played well.”
The Wildcats were also missing a handful of starters for the game, including its sweeper.
“We found out right before the game. But the guys came off the bench and stepped up against a good team. I’m very proud of them.’
“Even though we had adversity, our guys persevered. They pressed a little more and played hard the entire game. If we play that hard going forward, we’re going to present some major problems for other teams.”