LOUISBURG —Pack the bags. The McPherson High boys soccer team is heading to the Final Four.
The Bullpups overcame a hostile crowd and very good Louisburg team on Tuesday for a pulsating 2-1 victory to earn a date with mighty Bishop Miege on Friday in Olathe. Game time is 5 p.m. at the Boulevard Activity Center.
If the Bullpups can pull off the stunner, they would play for the state championship on Saturday. They have won two previous state titles, those coming in 2001 and 2003.
Tyler Hoxie’s penalty kick broke a 1-all tie in the second half and the Bullpups defended their goal like Fort Knox in the final 10 minutes to advance.
“I am so proud of this team and pumped to know these guys are going to get the opportunity at state they deserve,” said MHS coach Chris Adrian, whose team is now 14-5 on the season. “They play for each other and that’s what makes them so tough. Playing on a grass field, after a long drive, in a hostile environment was a challenge but these ‘Pups didn’t back down.”
Darrius Armstrong had scored MHS’ first goal in the first half and the Bullpups took that slim lead into the break.
“We looked really good the first half and should have scored two or three goals, but missed some easy opportunities,” Adrian said.
The Bullpup coach said his team had to overcome some rocky moments in the second half.
“In the second half, we struggled to keep our composure and stopped possessing the ball,” Adrian said. “Louisburg had a goal given that our defenders thought they saved from going into the goal, which was a pivotal point in the game. Would we lose our cool and crumble or show the perseverance and mental toughness this team has worked so hard at improving on this year? That question was answered right away when Darrius Armstrong chased down what seemed to be a lost cause stole the ball from a Louisburg defender and unselfishly played the ball across to Drew Schrader, who was taken out by the goalie earning the team a PK. Tyler Hoxie stepped up and buried it restoring our lead.”
Louisburg, which finished 13-6, did not go quietly into the night.
“In the final 10 minutes we rode our luck a bit as Louisburg hit the crossbar twice, but we managed to hold on and get the win,” Adrian said. “I’m so proud of these boys and glad I get the pleasure of coaching them for a few more days.”
MHS goalie Nathan Lloyd turned back a half-dozen shots between the pipes.
Andover Central routed Hays 4-0 and will play Spring Hill, which upset previously undefeated Tonganoxie 4-2 on Tuesday. Miege played on Monday and was an easy 3-0 winner over Kansas City Sumner.