Welcome to CADDO MAGNET High School Men's Soccer: Older News: Mustangs Capture District Crown In Regular Season Finale

Thursday, January 24
Mustangs Capture District Crown In Regular Season Finale
Captain Shreve’s resurgence this month made tonight’s game the most anticipated match of the season in Division I soccer, at least that’s the way it felt in Shreveport. But tonight the Mustangs shut down the Gators with a beautiful passing game and a stifling defense to win 2 to 0. When the teams last met in early December the Gators upset the Mustangs 1 to 0 in what turned out to be Caddo Magnet’s only loss of the season. The Mustangs have enjoyed a flawless season since that time, but with the the Gators’ recent successes and the prior upset there were high hopes among the Shreve faithful tonight. But it was not to be this time. Captain Shreve’s dangerous scoring duo - brothers Brennan and Connor Randel – got few good chances tonight as the Mustangs dominated play in the midfield to keep most of the action away from the brothers, while the state’s #1 defense quashed the few chances they did get. Meanwhile, Caddo Magnet made full use of big Indy Stadium to spread its attack wide. Caddo Magnet had most of the early chances in the contest but nothing to show for it until the 17th minute off a set piece. Luke Snow sent a free kick into the six-yard box from about 25 yards out. Tall Victor Leuck posted up to get a head on it and deflected it back to Adam West in front of the goal who quickly sent it to the back of the net. Then in the 27th minute West sent a nice through-pass to Steven Bush who had found an opening at the top of the eighteen, and after a short drive into the penalty box buried it for the Mustangs' second score. Shreve had their chances, too, as Brennan Randel got loose a few minutes later and sent one in, but he was ruled offsides. Shortly after Shreve had another excellent opportunity to get on the board with a nice cross in front of the goal, but the striker was just a split-second late as it flew by untouched. The defensive play of the game may have come from Mustang keeper Chris Hilario late in the first half. Shreve’s Randel got loose yet again and attempted a chip over Hilario as he rushed out to block the shot. But he went high to stop the shot and keep the shutout intact - a beautiful piece of work in the box. That attempt was Shreve’s first actual shot-on-goal for the game - coming in the 37th minute. Just before the first half ended Shreve got another chance on a long free kick, but Hilario went high to wrap that one up, too.

In the second half the Mustangs' passing game slipped a bit as Shreve applied more pressure, but it was still effective enough to maintain the possession edge that they had enjoyed in the first half. Even with the two-goal lead Caddo Magnet continued to attack and got a couple of more chances to pad their lead but just missed on both. The first one came in front of Shreve’s goal as the Mustangs had three cracks at the net from close range before the defense was able to clear the ball out. In the 75th minute Alex Blandin got open in front of the goal following a very nice build-up, but he sent the ball over the crossbar. Just prior to that Shreve came close to getting a score when Randel banged a beautiful curving blast off the far upright from 30 yards out following a rare Magnet defensive mistake. But there would be no further scoring in this one as the game ended in Magnet’s favor 2 to 0.

The match was played cleanly and at a rapid clip throughout with very nice attacks from both sides. Chances were about even for the contest, but Caddo Magnet held a wide advantage on shots-on-goal with ten against Shreve’s three. The Mustangs also won the possession game as it stuck with its precision passing game throughout while Shreve played a more opportunistic game, relying more on longer passes in hopes of springing the Randel brothers. Not a bad idea as these guys are the real deal who can and will deliver when given enough chances. To be such a young team (only two starting seniors and a load of sophomores) the Gators showed a lot of maturity and should do very well in the playoffs.

With his excellent defense tonight keeper Chris Hilario recorded his 17th clean sheet of the season – tops in the state for boys’ high school soccer. For the year, he and his defensive unit of Ethan Colbert, Spencer Inman, Robert Poole, and Luke Snow have limited twenty-four opponents to just nine goals for an eye-popping 0.38 goals per game – also tops in boys' soccer this year. Of course a good defense benefits greatly from a great set of midfielders, and the state has none better than those on the Mustang roster.  In the center are Nick Flowers, with his tenacious possession skills, and Zach Kelly with his calm knack for distribution. Together they form a perfect duo often times sending the ball wide to outside mids Steven Bush, Jimmy Cowles, and 12th man Jordan Abdehou for attacks down the sides, or they find forwards Adam West and Alex Blandin at the top for quick scores. West and Blandin are both among the area’s top scoring leaders. Playing key support roles throughout the season have been Dillon Bowie, Spencer Johnson, Victor Leuck (who played most if not all of tonight’s game), Dorian Long, Jordan Mitchell, Ahmad and Perwaiz Nawabi, Alex Payne, John and Michael Reeks, Justin Terracciano, and Jack Waterman. Providing the passionate leadership for these young men are Coach Radi Baltov and assistant coach Chicky Harter.

With the big win tonight Caddo Magnet takes the district crown for the second straight year while Captain Shreve repeats as district runner-up. Caddo Magnet finishes the regular season with twenty-three wins and just one loss in spite of playing a tougher schedule this year including eleven South Louisiana opponents – all victories. The Mustangs now prepare to host district four’s third place team in the first round of the playoffs, and that opponent has yet to be determined. The first game will be played shortly after that determination but must be completed by February 2nd. After two years of disappointing ‘one-and-out’ playoff appearances, the Mustangs are hopeful that the third year is the charm and that they are still in the picture in late February for the state final.

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