Jays Take the Rams by Their Horns
Jesuit Plays St. Paul’s for Division 1 State Championship on Saturday, Feb. 28. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium.
There may be no other game in the annals of Jesuit soccer like the one the Blue Jays played Saturday afternoon against Acadiana in Lafayette. And if there is such a game, well, it’s been topped by this year’s semifinal match between the number three seed Blue Jays and the second-seeded Rams of Acadiana.
In the first half, it was all Rams. The Jays appeared weathered, tarred, and feathered. Acadiana took a 2-0 halftime lead. And halfway through the second half, the home team added a third goal to build what looked like an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
At that point, who could blame Acadiana for making plans to drive to New Orleans for the state championship game on Saturday, Feb. 28?
But little did the Rams know that the Jays were not yet cooked. Resilience, spirit, sportsmanship, and character define Jesuit athletics. For the Blue Jays on this soccer team, they are blessed with an abundance of all of these traits.
With 18 minutes remaining in the match, Jesuit notched its first goal, thanks to some heads-up follow through from Braden Brignac. Five minutes later, Dillon Fuchs sent a header zipping into the goal on the ground between the goalie and a defender to cut the Rams’ lead to a single goal. And he wasn’t done yet. Three minutes later, with the clock showing about 10 minutes remaining in the match, Fuchs struck again, sending a beautiful header into the upper reaches of the goal. And just like that, the Jays and Rams were tied at three apiece.
The cha-ching moment for the Jays came in the 77th minute when Brignac – the only freshman on the varsity squad – knocked the ball into Acadiana’s goal. Four unanswered goals in the space of 18 minutes and this match will go down in the Jesuit soccer archives as one of the most incredible and exciting team comebacks ever.
“It was a game of two halves and in the first, Acadiana starts winning by knocking in goals,” said Coach Hubie Collins. “I thought it was very important that we didn’t give up that third goal, and then we did give up a third goal in the second half. But we clawed back with one goal, then another and another, and another one.
“The belief was there 100% of the time,” added Collins. “I’m just so proud of these boys because they showed great strength of character and great intestinal fortitude. They could have been a point, especially after Acadiana scored their third goal, that we could’ve quit, given up. But we didn’t and you could just see the dominoes were falling our way. Even psychologically, when we missed the penalty that could have brought it to 2-1, every player gave 100 % on the field and every player on the bench played they part, too.”
The Jays (21-4-4) will play St. Paul’s for the state championship on Saturday, Feb. 28 at Tad Gormley Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
N.O. Advocate: Jesuit rallies to stun Acadiana
Lafayette Advertiser: Rams victim of Jesuit semifinal comeback