Welcome to CADDO MAGNET High School Men's Soccer: Older News: Caddo Magnet Mustangs - Your 2008 Louisiana High School State Champions

Sunday, February 24
Caddo Magnet Mustangs - Your 2008 Louisiana High School State Champions


Did this word cross your mind when the Mustangs won the St Paul’s championship after giving a very good Brother Martin team and their star striker a penalty kick for the go-ahead goal in the closing seconds of overtime, and still get the win in pk’s with a back-up goal-keeper? It crossed my mind though I dared not utter it. Did it cross your mind when the team broke the ‘one-and-out’ play-off curse with their first play-off win in three years? Did it cross your mind when this team methodically shut down its next three contenders in a very tough bracket with all the drama of the ten o’clock news? Did it cross your mind when the mighty Acadiana, the mighty St Thomas More, and the mighty Jesuit all bowed out along the way? "Destiny’ is my biggest word now. ‘Destiny’ would be the name of my daughter… or my son for that matter, were the stork to make an emergency landing at my doorstep in the next twenty-four hours. But I digress…


The Caddo Magnet Mustangs have run the table. No one can stop this team. I really think right now that an exhibition match with FC Barcelona would be a close match. (Ronaldinho would probably get a game-tying pk in the closing seconds after our entire team ripped off their jerseys in an ill-timed post-game celebration.) Again, I digress…

There were two great stories here tonight. The Caddo Magnet Mustangs brought a championship to the title-starved North Louisiana soccer community. Cinderella Woodlawn’s carriage did not turn into a pumpkin after their first play-off win as most would have suspected but brought them instead to the brink of a state title following a so-so season. However, in this story Cinderella does not get the prince at the end, as Caddo Magnet had already locked him up. Upon his arrival at Caddo Magnet three years ago, Coach Radi Baltov told his team and their parents of the coming of this day. 

The build-up this month has been truly amazing. It became routine to see tripods and interviews at the after-school practices as the daily paper and local television stations got caught up in the magic and carried their message to everyone’s driveways and dens. Coach Radi was being interviewed so much that he had begun screening candidates for a speech writer. (That last part is probably not true.) A sense of pride quickly developed among the student body and spread to other area schools as all became one to celebrate an impending possibility more rare than a solar eclipse.

There is a new and very exclusive club in town, and seniors Nick Flowers, Chris Hilario, Spencer Inman, Dorian Long, Robert Poole, and John Reeks are the charter members - The Men’s Division One Soccer State Champions Alumni of Shreveport Area High Schools.  Soccer is gaining credibility in this area, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a son of one of these charter members initiated into the hallowed halls one day. After all, consider the Doug Bush story. When Caddo Magnet first began its soccer program in the 1980’s one of those first soccer icons was Doug ‘Toe-jobber’ Bush. Though Doug failed to rally his squad to a single victory in those early lean years at Caddo Magnet, he told all that it wasn’t over. Enter wife Karen, and the rest, as they say, is history. Son Steven, a Caddo Magnet junior and second-generation Mustang player, is a big part of this year’s success story and will be back next year to help his team attempt a repeat.

Okay, five long paragraphs and not a word about the game. Truth is – I didn’t take a single note last night. Way too exciting to take my eyes off the field ! Way too many family members (from as far away as New Orleans) and friends around me ! Way too much fun to keep notes ! Way too much RED EVERYWHERE ! Sensory overload ! Reporter down ! MEDIC !! … MEDIC !! (Final score - Mustangs 2 - Panthers 1) 

Wait, we need a final recap, so here goes:

Caddo Magnet took control of this match in the first couple of minutes with an early chance from the right side (a cross from outside mid Steven Bush into the penalty box) and then from the left (an outside mid Jordan Abdehou pass), but both were cleared before a Mustang striker could do any damage. In the third minute Caddo got its first shot following an interception at the mid-line. The ball was sent to outside mid Abdehou who sent it into the middle of the penalty box. Adam West took the shot, but it was wide left. In the fourth minute Woodlawn sent the first of several long balls over the defense, but the Mustang defense was quick to adjust before the striker arrived. Caddo got its first shot-on-goal when Abdehou sent a chip into the goal box to forward Victor Leuck, but the ensuing header was wrapped up by the keeper. Mustang keeper Chris Hilario got his first touch in the sixth minute on a long kick over the defense. There was no striker to receive it, but after putting the ball back into play the Mustangs had a couple of defensive mis-steps allowing Woodlawn its best chance of the first half with the ball in the penalty box, but defender Luke Snow intervened with a big clear. Throughout the first half center mids Zach Kelly and Nick Flowers orchestrated drives using the full width of big Indy with attacks down both sidelines and occasional rips at the net from the middle. Other than a deep ball occasionally down the middle Woodlawn was unable to put any kind of organized attack together. In the eleventh minute the long-ball-over-the-defense ploy did create some excitement as Woodlawn star striker Marcus Dyer was in position to possibly make something of it but Hilario was quick off his line to snatch the ball out of the air. Woodlawn finally got its first shot-on-goal in the 12th minute following a 45-yard kick from midfield, but Hilario was there again for the save. Left side defender Robert Poole continued his strong performance from last week, initiating attacks from the back that resulted in multiple chances throughout the evening. In the 15th minute one of those chances paid a big dividend. Following Poole's long pass up the sideline, Bush sent a cross into the middle of the penalty box from 27 yards out. West raced into position for a header in front of the goal, and from nine yards out speared a bullet past the keeper to give his Mustangs the lead. Woodlawn then accelerated the pace and was able to get more touches for the next several minutes but still could not put the ball into scoring position. In the 18th minute Kelly put a 37-yard free kick into the middle of the box and three Mustangs got a crack at it as it bounced around, but nothing went in. The first half came to an end with Caddo Magnet holding an overwhelming edge in shots (thirteen to three) and shots-on-goal (four to one) but only one score to show for it. Credit Woodlawn’s scrappy defense for the close score. Offensively, Woodlawn was never able to string enough passes together to form any kind of attack. The few times that the ball reached Caddo Magnet’s penalty box resulted from long kicks from deep midfield, and those were easily turned around.

The second half began as the first with the Mustangs on the attack early. In the 44th minute Kelly displayed some crafty footwork to put himself in position for a shot at the top of the penalty box, but it was wide left. A minute later he borrowed a play from the Panthers with a long ball sent over the defense. West was there but his shot went wide. Play began to get a bit more physical at this point and the yellow cards started coming out. Woodlawn was called for rough play in the 47th minute and Caddo Magnet in the 51st. In the 75th minute the Mustangs finally got its insurance goal. Bush sent a short pass into the middle from 35 yards out to Alex Blandin who one-touched a short tap to Jack Waterman. Waterman took off for the goal then slipped a short pass back to the open Blandin in the middle of the penalty box who blasted it into the far post from twelve yards. Caddo Magnet slowly began to swap players out at this point. There were more yellow cards (one for each side) as both sides continued to press hard. With about seven minutes left in the match the Mustangs finally gave up their first goal in eleven matches. A Panther throw-in from deep in the Mustang side of the field was headed into the middle to Marcus Dyer. With a quick spin-around he launched a beauty from thirteen yards out between two defenders that caught the far upright and bounced in – a very nice shot out of a crowded penalty box. Play intensified on both sides as the Mustangs fought to maintain their one-goal lead, and the longshot Panthers came alive with the realization that they were not out of this match yet. Each side collected another yellow card with the elevated play. Though they did extend the drama into the closing seconds the Panthers were unable to find the equalizer. The game ended with a red card being issued to a Woodlawn player at the conclusion of the match as the Mustangs held on to become North Louisiana’s first ever men’s Division One state champions. Final score 2 to 1. Queen’s "We Are the Champions" began to blare loudly over the speakers as players hugged and congratulated one another. The players came together once more to stand in gratitude before their audience of 2300-plus, and the fans responded with deafening applause. Adam West was named MVP of the game, a proud Coach Radi was presented the game ball, and Shreveport mayor Cedric Glover (himself a Caddo Magnet alumnus) presented to the senior players the championship trophy.

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