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Wildcats outlast Kansas City Christian for regional title

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone
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Louisburg senior Landon Johnson hoists the Class 4-1A regional championship trophy on Thursday and celebrates with his teammates after the Wildcats’ 2-0 win over Kansas City Christian at Wildcat Stadium.

For more than 70 minutes, the goals for Louisburg were hard to come by and it started to leave an eerie feeling on Halloween night.

However, the Wildcats got their treat when it was all over.

Louisburg scored two goals in the final seven minutes of the match to earn a 2-0 victory over Kansas City Christian in the Class 4-1A regional championship game Thursday. The Wildcats (16-1-1) earned their third regional title in the last four years and will now move on to the state quarterfinals.

“This group is special,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “It is going to be tough when it is all over. This group has changed our culture. They came back to what this program believes and they have bought in to what we are teaching them. They have worked so hard since June. For these seniors, this is their third title in four years and I think it is a lot of fun for them.

“I would like to get them back to the state final four so they can see what it looks like. We are young, but we have some upperclassmen here to lead us. They all work and play so hard and it is a credit to them and their ability to play for each other. It is bittersweet but it is a lot of fun right now.”

The Louisburg boys soccer team won their third regional title in the last four years with a 2-0 victory over Kansas City Christian on Thursday.

It wasn’t a lot of fun early on as the Wildcats struggled to find the back of the net and it got a little harder when they had to watch their leading scorer, Cade Gassman, leave with an injury early in the second half.

Like they have done most off the season, the Wildcats were there to pick each other up and freshman Colin McManigal, who replaced Gassman, gave them spark they were looking for.

With seven minutes left in the match, McManigal scored on an assist from junior Treston Carlson to put Louisburg on top, 1-0, and it was all Louisburg needed to keep its season alive.

Freshman Colin McManigal tries to settle the ball as he races down the sideline Thursday against Kansas City Christian.

“I knew we had to get a ball into the back side to score and once I saw that ball go through, I knew I had a chance,” McManigal said. “I saw the goalie’s eyes and I watched him miss the ball and I knew this was the one. I just popped it in and it was history from there.

“Cade has been doing so good this year and he is like a brother to me. When he came out, it gave me a chance to go get one for the team. I just tried my hardest out there and I am glad it all worked out. Hopefully he will get better soon.”

Less than two minutes later, Carlson provided the Wildcats with some cushion as he found the back of the net to all but seal the win. On a day where Carlson, and several of his teammates had good looks at the net and the shots didn’t go in, the score provided a sense of relief to the Louisburg sideline.

“I am super excited,” Carlson said of the regional title. “I am just proud of the team on how we continued to battle even when things weren’t going our way. Kansas City Christian was a tough team, and they played hard, but I am definitely glad we were able to get this one.”

Kansas City Christian, which took third in the state a year ago, provided the Wildcats with one of their toughest tests of the season. Still, the Wildcats got the production it was looking at several different spots in the field.

Sophomore Braden Yows tries to get past a Kansas City Christian player Thursday in Louisburg.

Sophomore Braden Yows was a factor for Louisburg all night in the midfield as he distributed the ball and provided the Wildcats with several scoring opportunities.

“Braden did a really good job,” Conley said. “Isaac (Guetterman) has been playing well too in the middle so we can give Braden a little bit of a breather here and there. It is hard to take Braden off the field, and when he was out of there for the 4 or 5 minutes, you could see the game starting to change a little bit and we had to get him back out there. He played fantastic and was able to move the ball around quick and he just has great vision and that helps us a ton.”

Defensively, senior goalie Garrett Rolofson earned his second straight shutout in the playoffs, while senior midfielder Ryan Haight was locked on Kansas City Christian’s top scorer for most of the night and held him scoreless.

The back line of Toby Espina-Roca, Will Frank, Michael Seuferling, Luke Faulkner, and midfielders Hunter Rogers and Ethan Showalter also provided good protection as well.

Defender Toby Espina-Roca clears the ball away Thursday in the Wildcats’ 2-0 win.

Louisburg’s defense will have to work hard in its next matchup as the Wildcats will host Bishop Miege at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in the Class 4-1A state quarterfinals. Miege has won the last three state championships and Louisburg will face its biggest task of the season on its home field.

“They are a fantastic team,” Conley said. “They play a really tough schedule and their record does not imply out good they are. They are a very dynamic and dangerous team. Coach (Nate) Huppe will have his boys ready to go and I will have mine ready and we will see what happens.”

Louisburg shuts out Atchison

In its game leading up to the regional championship, Louisburg first had to get by Atchison.

It took a little while to get going, but once they did, the Wildcats didn’t stop as they scored five unanswered goals to win 5-0 over the Redmen in the regional semifinals last Tuesday in Louisburg.

Five different players scored for the Wildcats as sophomore Braden Yows broke open the scoreless match on a goal with nine minutes left in the first half. Cade Gassman and Ethan Ptacek both added goals of their own to put Louisburg up 3-0 at halftime.

Junior Treston Carlson and sophomore Jaden Vohs scored the game’s final two goals to complete he scoring, while senior goalie Garrett Rolofson earned the clean sheet.

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