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Louisburg wraps up Frontier League title with rout of Piper on Senior Night

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone

Senior defender Will Frank clears the ball away from a Piper player Thursday during Louisburg’s Senior Night contest at Wildcat Stadium Complex. The Wildcats rolled to an 8-1 win.

Cold and rain weren’t the conditions Louisburg was hoping for in its regular season finale, but the Wildcats players didn’t complain.

They had too much to celebrate.

Along with Louisburg’s 8-1 victory over Piper in which it honored eight seniors on Senior Night, the Wildcats also made history in the process. Their victory gave them the outright Frontier League title as they ended the regular season with a 14-1-1 record and are the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the Class 4-1A east side of the state.

It is the Wildcats’ second league title in three years and they head into postseason play on a five-match winning streak.

“Man, it is really impressive,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said of his team’s achievements. “This group of boys have bought in from day one and worked so hard. They are committed to each other and it shows in their play. Their attitudes and work ethic is a major reason why we are having the success we are. I could not be happier for a group of young men.

“This group had a lot of lofty goals at the beginning of the season, and they have accomplished two of them with that win against Piper. This is such a special group.”

The senior group of Will Frank, Ryan Haight, Colin Cook, Landon Johnson, David Perentis, Garrett Rolofson, Emanuel Fries and manager Mackenzie Scholtz were all recognized before the match as they were able to celebrate Senior Night first, and then a league title after.

Seniors (from left) Mackenzie Scholtz, Garrett Rolofson, Ryan Haight, Colin Cook, Will Frank, Landon Johnson, Emanuel Fries and David Perentis were honored before Thursday’s contest.

Louisburg jumped on Piper from the opening whistle as sophomore Braden Yows scored the team’s first goal 20 seconds into the match.

From there, it was freshman Cade Gassman who made the biggest mark as he recorded a hat trick in a 5-minute span to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead midway through the first half. Gassman finished with a game-high four goals as he added another in the second half.

Senior Landon Johnson also put away a couple shots as he converted a penalty kick late in the first half and then opened the second half with another goal to give the Wildcats a 6-1 advantage. Freshman Colin McManigal added a goal midway through the second half and Gassman iced the win with his fourth score with 13 minutes remaining in the match.

“Cade was on fire,” Conley said. “He ended with four, but it could have been easily six if I let him. He was focused and played with such passion and determination. I couldn’t be happier for a young man and how well he’s played the entire season.

“Landon played really hard as well. He was extremely dangerous with the ball at his feet. He did a great job of breaking down their flanks.”

Senior David Perentis deflects the ball away from a Piper player Thursday.

The Wildcats recorded 18 shots on goal and 35 shots overall as they put pressure on the Piper defense the entire night. Junior Treston Carlson and Gassman each had five shots on goal and Johnson had three.

Defensively, other than one goal late in the first half, the Wildcats shut down the Piper attack as senior goalie Garrett Rolofson finished the night with three saves.

Senior Will Frank, junior Luke Faulkner, sophomore Michael Seuferling and freshman Toby Espina-Roca limited Piper’s chances from the defensive line, while defensive midfielders Ryan Haight, Ethan Showalter and Hunter Rogers also provided support.

“The defenders played very well minus one play,” Conley said. “They held it down and limited their touches in the offensive half. Piper did send almost their entire team forward and tried to create a lot of problems for us, but we did a great job of staying disciplined and marked up. We did a really nice job of limiting their opportunities.

“The conditions were terrible, but we handled it really well. The boys were ready from pregame on. They were focused and really intense. I think we played so well from start to finish. We moved the ball and did a great job of attacking what they gave us. The boys read the game well. It was nice to be able to sub as much as we did and not lose a beat with those guys.”

Senior Garrett Rolofson traded in his goalie jersey late in the match Thursday as the Wildcats tried to get him his first-ever goal.

Now the focus is on the postseason where the Wildcats will host Atchison at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the regional semifinal game. Atchison defeated Bishop Ward, 6-0, Monday in the play-in game.

Should the Wildcats advance, they will play the winner of No. 8 Maur Hill-Mount Academy and No. 9 Kansas City Christian on Thursday in the regional championship game.

“I am glad it’s finally here,” Conley said of the postseason. “This team is motivated and determined to make an impact. I am excited to see what this team can do and keep proving everyone wrong. I love how hard the boys played all year and how much they improved. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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