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Yows’ golden goal lifts Louisburg past Paola in OT

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone
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Louisburg sophomore Braden Yows (right) is engulfed by his teammates following his game-winning goal in the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory over Paola on Monday in Louisburg.

Just like the first match earlier in the season, Louisburg and Paola found themselves in another battle Monday as the two teams went into overtime for the second time this year.

And just like the first time, Louisburg got the golden goal it was looking for to pull out a win.

Sophomore Braden Yows struck the ball on the back side of the goal and found the back of the net five minutes into overtime and the Wildcats came away with a 1-0 victory over the Panthers.

Senior Ryan Haight crossed the ball into the backside of the goal for the assist and Yows was there to put a good foot on the pass.

“It was a little unbelieveable,” Yows said. “Ryan played a great ball into the box and I called for it. Ethan (Ptacek) could have taken the chance, but when I shot it and went in, it was almost like a dream come true a little bit. I almost couldn’t believe it at first.

“Those type of goals don’t come around very often that win you a game against your rival. It was great, but if Ryan doesn’t play that ball and Treston (Carlson) doesn’t play it to him then that goal never happens. It was a team goal.”

It certainly was a team effort as the Wildcats (12-1-1) picked up their third consecutive victory on the season and defeated a Paola (8-4-1) team that is one of the best in the Frontier League and currently has the fourth-best record on the East side of the state in Class 4-1A.

Louisburg played well on each third of the field, but it started on defense as the Wildcats limited Paola’s chances on goal. To do that, Haight shadowed Paola’s top scorer, Ryan Wokutch, most of the night and got help from junior midfielder Ethan Showalter.

Neither player came off the field much and were helped by the back line of Will Frank, Michael Seuferling, Toby Espina-Roca and Luke Faulkner. Senior goalie Garrett Rolofson recorded three saves and earned the shutout.

“Ryan (Wokutch) has special speed and is an incredible player,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “We decided to put Ryan Haight on him and I thought he shut him down pretty well. He did a really nice job on him defensively, but Wokutch is so dangerous that he causes a massive amount of problems for him.”

Louisburg senior Landon Johnson holds off a Paola player for the ball Monday.

Both teams had opportunities early in the first half as Wokutch had a header that was saved by Rolofson. For Louisburg, senior Landon Johnson had two shots on goal, one of which hit off the cross bar.

The Wildcats put the pressure on the Paola defense and controlled possession for much of the second half and overtime. Louisburg had 27 shots on the night, including 14 on goal.

Junior Treston Carlson and Johnson led the Wildcats with three shots on goal. Yows, along with freshmen Cade Gassman and Ethan Ptacek, each had two.

Louisburg also took advantage of a tiring Paola team as the Wildcats were able to sub in groups for much of the match and were fresher going into overtime.

“We have to thank Conley for this one,” Yows said. “We could see Paola was a little worn down, but we have a little more depth, but coach makes us do a lot of fitness in practice and it pays off. Paola was really good in the first half, but Ryan did a great job of shutting down Wokutch but Hunter (Rogers) and Sho (Ethan Showalter) both played amazing. They were a big help back there.”

The Wildcats were able to find the net halfway through the extra period when Haight played a ball toward the back side of the goal and Yows was there waiting for it.

“That is the ball I was talking about to the boys,” Conley said. “I kept telling them the back side was wide open. We got there a couple times and kind of wasted some chances, but Braden shifted a little bit, smacked it home and that was it. It was a good read for Braden, and a good lead from Ryan and it was good to get a win.”

The Louisburg players pile on each other following the Wildcats’ 1-0 overtime win over Paola.

Yows’ game-winner emptied the Wildcat bench and the players were able to celebrate their 12th win of the season as they piled on Yows.

The Wildcats will continue its special season Tuesday when it hosts Ottawa and then will host Piper on Thursday for Senior Night. Louisburg will have the opportunity to win a Frontier League title and assure itself a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs next week.

“We have a good style of play and I think we do a good job of possessing the ball,” Conley said. “I think we could get a little more dynamic in the final third, but at the same time I love how hard we play and how the kids don’t stop. They might be too young to understand what they are truly doing right now, but it is a lot of fun to watch.”

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