The last time Woodlawn played Captain Shreve in the boys soccer playoffs, it sparked arguably the school’s most impressive postseason run since winning the 1999 state championship.
The Panthers traveled to Shreveport in the opening round of the 2008 Division I tournament, where they upset the Gators 2-1. The next week, they beat Ruston and Grace King after that. In the semifinals, Woodlawn beat a defending state champion Jesuit team that hadn’t lost in nearly two years.
Woodlawn eventually lost to Caddo Magnet in the final, but the season will forever be cemented into coach Andrew Barnes’ memory as one of the best in his 15 years as coach.
“It was fantastic,” Barnes said. “Each game, the excitement got bigger and bigger, and the kids got more confident. It’s one of those experiences that, when you look back, we didn’t even know what we were doing at the time.”
Since their near-Cinderella run at the championship, the Panthers only reached the playoffs three times, missing out on each of the past four postseasons.
It’s been a tough run for Woodlawn the past few years, but Barnes and the Panthers are once again on the verge of playing spoiler to the state’s powerhouse programs.
After a pair of dominating wins in the first two rounds, No. 10 Woodlawn hosts No. 2 Captain Shreve in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Last time we went to Captain Shreve, we were below underdogs,” Barnes said. “But you get to these games, and I don’t feel like we’re underdogs at all. I feel like we’re right there, and it’s a matter of letting the game play out versus trying to strategize and figure out how to stay in the game. I’m just going to let the kids play.”
Woodlawn isn’t the only Baton Rouge area program attempting to recreate former glory days.
No. 12 Catholic High returns to the quarterfinal round of the Division I playoffs for the first time since 2013 when it hosts No. 4 Jesuit at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Bears defeated rival St. Amant in the second round 2-1 on a late goal by freshman Cole Cazenave, while the Blue Jays disposed of Sulphur 3-1.
“Over the years, Catholic High and Jesuit have played each other a number of times, and it’s always a good matchup,” Catholic coach Josh McReynolds said. “There’s an element of being an underdog, but from a mentality standpoint, I told our team at the beginning of the playoffs, ‘Our record is the same as everybody else’s. We’re 0-0 and you have one game to play and then you’re on to the next game.’ ”
Division III still has a pair of Baton Rouge teams vying for a place in the semifinals with No. 4 University hosting No. 5 Leesville and No. 9 Episcopal hosting No. 1 St. Louis Catholic.
Both games are set to kickoff at 6 p.m. on Tuesday with the winners facing off in the semifinal round.
“I think we’re ready. I know we are,” U-High coach Chris Mitchell said. “We’ve been playing well, especially in the month of January. We had real good district play and hopefully that helps us out.”