Griffins fall short in state title game

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown’s Jaxson Stovall plays defense during the Griffins’ 1-0 loss in the Division-I state title game against Catholic.

In Dutchtown’s improbable run to the Division-I state title matchup, the Griffins pulled off three straight upset victories on the road against perennial powers Brother Martin, Jesuit and St. Paul’s.

But the Griffins just couldn’t do it for a fourth straight game.

Playing at Southeastern’s Strawberry Stadium in Hammond on Saturday night, the Griffins fell behind against top-seeded Catholic just five minutes into the game.

Goalkeeper Josh Barrow had an exceptional performance, keeping the Griffins in it until the end. But Dutchtown just couldn’t answer offensively.

The Griffins had chances to score late, but they couldn’t connect on some key kicks. In the end, Dutchtown fell to the defending champs, 1-0.

“Listening to everyone else, we shouldn’t even be here,” Griffin head coach Marcus Dyer said. “It just didn’t fall for us tonight. That’s the way the game goes sometimes. But we won the second half. We were the better team. We got the better chances, created more chances and were more dangerous. To do something like that against a team like Catholic is something to be proud of. 

“We showed what we were made of by working until the end. We were the most dangerous in the last 10 minutes. That’s when you need the grit and determination to make something happen, and we were doing that. It’s a bummer to fall short, but I’m proud of the boys and how they played.”

Just five minutes into the game, Catholic’s Buster Couhig put a beautiful shot just past the outstretched arms of Barrow to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.

But that’s the last time Catholic got the best of Barrow. They kept attacking, but Barrow kept making clutch saves.

Conversely, Dutchtown couldn’t mount any offense in the first half. The Griffins had moments when they pushed the ball near the Catholic net, but the Bear defense prevented them from getting off clean shots at the goal.

At minute 60, Jaxson Stovall had a corner kick that landed right in front of the Bear goal, but in the scrum to gain possession of the ball, no Griffins could get off a shot.

In the second half, the Bears continued to attack Barrow, and he continued to make plays. At minute 64, Barrow made a beautiful diving save.

Dutchtown made things very interesting in the final two minutes.

Hector Guzman got off a contested shot five yards in front of the goal, but it went over. Up until that point, it was the Griffins’ best chance to score.

In the final seconds of the game, Guzman had another chance to tie it. He had another shot close to the Bear net, but his shot went wide left.

The miss allowed the Bears to complete an undefeated season and capture their second straight state championship.

“Their technicality on the ball is great; their passes are so crisp and so clean,” Dyer said. “It’s so difficult for kids to even make their team. So, when we can bring a rag-tag bunch of boys around and give them a fight, that’s something we can be proud of. They’re a strong program technically and physically. They’re always going to be hard to beat.”

In defeat, Barrow came up with 11 saves for Dutchtown.

The loss was only the Griffins’ second since mid-December. In a season that saw them win the district title and finish as the Division-I state runners-up, the Griffins ended with an overall record of 13-5-5.

“It was a good ride,” Dyer said. “This is something that I hope we can use the momentum to keep building this program. I don’t want this to be a one-time thing. Next year, we’re going to put in the work to try to get back here.”