Sitting at No. 6 in the latest unofficial LHSAA Division IV power rankings, Haynes Academy coaches and players know the Yellowjackets will need a pair of wins down the stretch to hold their playoff seeding.
Haynes junior forward Bobby Wahl made sure the Yellowjackets stayed on track with his 24th goal of the season to earn a 1-0 nondistrict victory at Country Day on Monday afternoon.
“We just really needed the goal,” he said of his shot in the 66th minute. “I just cut up one of their players and dribbled into the box. I took it with my left, and it went in. I had a few chances in the beginning, so it was good to put one in. Overall, we played really well. We’re excited about this one.”
The Yellowjackets (12-3-3) had plenty of chances in the first half but each attempt went just wide or was saved by Cajuns keeper Sergis Centanni to keep the match scoreless at halftime. The Cajuns (10-8) opened the second half with some chances of their own.
Sophomore Price Petagna had his shot saved in the 50th minute, while junior Owen Hoffman sent a blast over the crossbar just three minutes later. But in the 66th minute, Wahl, who is now just two goals from tying the Haynes single-season record, came through after taking a throw-in from Janny Meza and dribbling around several Cajuns for the score.
“We had a bunch of chances, and we finally put one away,” Haynes coach Kenny Marks said. “We’re real excited about the win. We knew we had to win two of our last three games to stay where we are. We have some confidence going now. The boys are playing well together as a team.”
The Yellowjackets, who have dropped just one match in their past 14 contests, held on the rest of the way for the victory.
Country Day, which came into the contest ranked 13th in the latest power rankings, played well defensively but simply couldn’t generate enough chances.
“We just didn’t have enough possessions to create more scoring opportunities,” Country Day coach Billy Smith said. “We need more than three or four quality scoring opportunities to beat a team like Haynes. That’s definitely something that we’re going to work on. The defense played well, but we have to create more chances.”
Haynes travels to Newman on Wednesday with a chance to share the District 8-IV title while Country Day hosts John Ehret on Friday.