St. Louis grabs top playoff seed

By By Rhett Manuel / American Press

The road to a state championship in Division III will again run through St. Louis.

Seeking a fifth consecutive state title and seventh in nine years, the Saints grabbed the No. 1 seed in their division when

the boys soccer playoff pairings were released Wednesday.

“We’re excited that the kids receive the recognition of being the No. 1 seed,” head coach Jason Oertling said. “They also realize they don’t give out trophies at the beginning of February. They’re

realistic in knowing that they’re proud of it, but there’s a lot of work to be done between now and the end of February.”

St. Louis is joined by two other area teams in the playoffs. Sulphur grabbed the No. 14 seed in Division I and Leesville grabbed the No. 15 seed in Division II.

All three Southwest Louisiana teams will host first-round games. Sulphur will host No. 19 New Iberia, Leesville hosts No.

18 Pearl River and St. Louis hosts No. 32 West Feliciana at 6 p.m. Friday.

If the Saints make it to the Feb. 26

final, they could have No. 2 Northlake Christian awaiting them. The

teams played to a

1-all draw in a tournament earlier this season. Before they

entertain the possibility of a rematch, though, the Saints face

possible matchups against traditional powers, such as Division III’s defending state champ in No. 4 seed Episcopal of Baton Rouge, No. 9 seed Catholic-New Iberia,

No. 8 seed Westminster Christian and No. 5 seed Lusher Charter, which has a player committed to play at N.C. State.

“Just in general, as the No. 1 seed you have the biggest target on your back,” Oertling said. “We know going in we’re going

to get everybody’s best game and we have to be prepared for that. Episcopal is the defending state champ, and they’re not

going to let go of that very easily.”