Northlake Christian edges Newman 2-1 in overtime to take Division IV boys soccer title _lowres

Photo by JOSEPH HALM – Northlake Christians Nathan Pearl, left, passes a ball away from Newmans Evan DeBlanc in the Division IV boys soccer state championship match Wednesday at Tad Gormley Stadium. The game was not finished for presstime. For a story on the game, go to TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com/sports.

For much of the second half and overtime, it seemed like No. 5 Northlake Christian was just a pass away from taking the lead.

Then sophomore forward Clayton Gill broke through to send the Northlake faithful into a frenzy.

Gill scored in the 86th minute after a long cross from senior Jake Lewis as the Wolverines earned a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 2 Newman in the Division IV boys soccer state championship game Wednesday at Tad Gormley Stadium.

“To be able to finish it off for my seniors, it is just unbelievable,” Gill said. “In the first round of overtime, the wind was going away from us, so we had to get that goal. We just had to put it in. It was just a beautiful cross from Jake Lewis. It feels amazing. It’s the first championship in my career.”

The Wolverines, who were in their fifth state final in the past six years including finishing runner-up the past two seasons, claimed their second state title.

“It feels great,” Most Outstanding Player Josh Landry said. “I just have to give all the glory to God. It took four years, but gosh, it feels amazing. This is the best feeling of my life. We’re state champions.”

The battle of perennial powers featured several chances early as Newman’s Sam Moses pulled a shot wide in the 14th minute. Northlake responded a minute later as Landry beat the keeper but sent the shot just wide.

Newman broke through in the 24th minute on a nice combination and finish by Max Friedman. The play was started by Sam Moses who found Clayton Shell. Shell played the ball to a streaking Evan DeBlanc, who found Friedman all alone on the back post for the goal.

Northlake (16-3-5) answered in the 40th minute as Cross Hebert scored to set the 1-1 halftime score.

Northlake coach Nick Chetta said his team never doubted that it could win.

“We’ve been through some adversity this season,” he said. “We’ll take it anyway that we can get it, so we’re excited that we got the result. Newman is a well-coached team, and this was a great game. This is what a state championship match is supposed to be.”

Northlake controlled the second half as Newman switched to a more defensive formation. The Wolverines’ best chances came from Lewis, who sent a shot just wide in the 54th minute and sent one over the crossbar in the 74th minute.

The Greenies (16-4-3), who were playing for their eight state title and first since 2010, tried to score the equalizer in the final 10 minutes, but each time senior goalkeeper Zack Odenwald was up to the challenge.

Newman coach Matt Jacques said his team simply didn’t play its game.

“Overall, we didn’t play well today,” he said. “You’ve got to give credit to Northlake. They made us play a different way than we usually do. All the credit goes to them. We’ll return all 10 field players from tonight next season, so there is a positive to this, but at the end of the day, you wish you were on the other end of it.”