The Benton Tigers boys soccer team has already had an historic season. They will try to make more history Monday afternoon.
The No. 3 seed Tigers (15-4-3) face No. 10 East Jefferson (6-7-4) in a Division II semifinal match at 4 at Bossier’s Memorial Stadium.
It will be the first semifinal soccer match in school history. The winner faces the winner of the other semifinal between No. 1 Holy Cross (24-4-2) and No. 4 Ben Franklin (16-3-3) for the state title Friday at 7:30 at SLU’s Strawberry Field in Hammond.
After receiving a first-round bye, Benton defeated No. 14 Archbishop Shaw 3-1 in the second and No. 6 Caddo Magnet 2-0 in the quarterfinals. The Tigers have won 13 in a row.
East Jefferson defeated No. 23 Tioga 3-0 in the first round then edged No. 7 Parkway 1-0 in the second. The Warriors from Metairie then pulled off a big upset, knocking off No. 2 seed St. Thomas More, the 2020 state runner-up, 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
East Jefferson entered the playoffs on a six-match winless streak that included three ties. The Warriors have played some tough competition including Ben Franklin (1-0 loss), Division III semifinalist Lusher Charter (3-0 loss) and Division I semifinalist Jesuit (5-0 loss).
Parkway is the teams’ only common opponent. The Tigers defeated the Panthers 5-3 in district play.
East Jefferson lost to Caddo Magnet 2-1 in the second round last year.
The Warriors reached the semifinals in 2018. They made it to the quarterfinals seven times from 2010-19.
Benton spread the scoring load in its two playoff matches. Ethan Bihler has two goals. Devin Ryan, Buzz Bording and Logan Smith all have one. Bihler, Smith and Ryan have one assist apiece.
The Tigers have also gotten exceptional defensive play.
Benton is the first Bossier Parish boys team to make the semifinals in any division since Parkway made it in Division II in 2011.
— Featured photo by Jeff Thomas