Exacting some revenge from an earlier season loss, No. 8-seeded Northshore advanced to state quarterfinals for the first time since 2006 with a 2-0 win over No. 9 Dutchtown in the Division I boys soccer regionals Thursday night in Slidell.
With the victory, the Panthers (16-3-3) advance to take on District 4-I rival and top-seeded St. Paul’s. The Panthers will enter the game against the powerhouse Wolves on an eight-game winning streak.
The last team to defeat Northshore was four-time defending state champions St. Paul's, which topped NHS 2-0 on Jan. 5.
The Griffins, who had defeated Northshore 2-0 on Dec. 29, finished 16-3-1.
After a scoreless first 73 minutes, Northshore finally took advantage when Keasler Burriss headed in a throw from Andrew Stein to put the Panthers in front 1-0.
“I was just told to get up there and get a goal,” Burriss said. “Honestly, Andrew Stein did most of the work. He pretty much threw it straight to me. All I had to do was just knock it in.
“I was told to go to the front post and I have done this enough times to know where I am going out there on the field. When I saw the ball, I just watched it to my head and knocked it in.”
Jean Rojas added an insurance goal in stoppage time to send the Panthers to the state quarterfinals.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Burriss said. “It means a lot. This is a great team, and one of the best we have had at this school in a very long time. If we continue to do our jobs and play hard, hopefully we can go even further than the state quarterfinals.”
To achieve that, the Panthers must beat a St. Paul’s squad that is undefeated against in-state opponents and has surrendered only a single goal this year against teams from Louisiana.
“Our approach is whatever the coaching staff tells us to do,” Burriss said. “That approach has led us to where we are and we aren’t going to change that now. Our job as players is to go out there and execute our coaches game plan. That is exactly what we are going to do.”