Griffins advance to state semifinals

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Tuesday night’s state quarterfinal matchup at Dutchtown was a game that Griffin teams of the past would have lost.

But it’s a new year and a new team.

After a scoreless first half that saw Dutchtown miss out on prime opportunities to take the lead, Jesuit scored just one minute into the second half to go up 1-0.

But the Griffins never panicked. Four minutes later, they tied the game. And in the 58th minute, they scored another goal that ended up being the game winner.

“We responded the way we haven’t responded in the past,” Griffin head coach Marcus Dyer said. “We’re trying to change their mentality and the way they handle adversity. They’re responding well to the pressure.

“We keep asking them if they can do it. Can you pick yourself up from the mud, the dirt and the grime when you’re face-down in it after a goal? They have. They’re turning it around for us. It’s the second time in school history we’re going to the semifinals, so we’ll take it.”

Dutchtown just missed out on a couple of goals in the first half.

At the 17th minute, a shot by Cole Hattier went wide left, and at minute 28, a point-black shot by Jose Mendoza was saved.

One of the biggest plays of the game came at the 34th minute. A corner kick by Jesuit led to a header that looked like a sure goal. At the last possible second, Alden Remont stuck out his leg and batted it away before it could go through.

The superb save kept it scoreless at halftime.

Just one minute into the second half, Noah Relan came up with a goal to give Jesuit a 1-0 lead.

However, just four minutes later, Brock Shadle-Colon launched a beautiful throw-in, and Zayne Zezulka put it through the net with a header to tie the game.

At the 58th minute, Shadle-Colon again came up huge with a strong throw-in. The ball was launched toward a crowd in front of the goal. It made contact with a player and found its way into the net to give Dutchtown a 2-1 lead.

But that advantage wasn’t safe with the way Jesuit attacked the Dutchtown goal late in the game. They forced goalkeeper Nicholas Gautreaux to make plays, and he did.

At the 64th minute, he laid out to make a beautiful save. And at minute 78, a kick looked like it was going to go over his head for a goal, but he got just high enough in the air to get a hand on the ball, deflecting it away from the net.

Those two saves allowed the Griffins to pull out the 2-1 victory. Gautreaux finished with 10 saves for the game.

“He takes a lot of grief from the message boards, from the other players and from other teams. But we’re going to the semifinals, and they’re not,” Dyer said. “He made incredible saves tonight. When his heart is in it, he does incredible things. His heart was in it tonight, and he was incredible.”

Dutchtown’s offense all started with throw-ins from Shadle-Colon. Dyer said that he became a weapon for them in that aspect of the game midway through the season.

“It took us a long time to realize that the high-school game is a set-piece game,” Dyer said. “We realized it was our weakness, so we started using that as another tool in our tool box to add another dimension to what defenders have to think about. Anything we can do to confuse a defense, that’s what we’ll do. He can throw it a mile, so we’ll take that.”

The Griffins will go on the road to play top-seeded defending state champion St. Paul’s in the semifinals. The two teams met in the season opener back on Nov. 19. St. Paul’s won, 4-1.