The defending Class 4 state champion CBC Cadets continue their quest to return to state again play for another title with a sectional game against a new opponent.
The Cadets (19-5-2) will play the Jackson Indians (17-5) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 31) in Jackson.
CBC coach Terry Michler, who is in his 47th year at the helm of the Cadets, said his program no history with Jackson.
The plan against the Indians, Michler said, is simple.
“We need to win,” Michler said.
A victory sends the sectional winner into the quarterfinal round to meet the winner of the Francis Howell Central and Pattonville game. The quarterfinal is set for Saturday (Nov. 4).
The Cadets enter the sectional game fresh off winning their 29th district championship under Michler.
Heading into the district tourney, Michler said this season has had some ups and downs.
“(It’s been) a season of inconsistency with good games and not so good games,” Michler said. “A nice winning record but (our) performance could be more consistent.”
CBC opened District 2 play with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Marquette. The Mustangs finished with a 16-4 record.
The game went to penalty kicks.
That did not catch Michler off guard.
“No surprise there — two quality teams with the season on the line,” Michler said. “We always play a tough schedule and it pays off in the postseason.”
Michler noted CBC had scoring opportunities but Marquette’s Joe Roder thwarted the Cadets’ chances.
“We had our chances, and they were good ones,” Michler said. “The Marquette keeper made at least two huge saves.”
After two scoreless overtimes, the game went to penalty kicks.
Jack Edwards, Colten Walsh, Nate Temm and Julian Bennett all scored for CBC. The Cadets won 4-3 in the penalty kicks to take the match.
“(We) lived to play another day,” Michler said. “We had the better of play throughout the game, so it was satisfying to get the result.”
That win sent CBC into the district title game against Metro Catholic Conference rival De Smet. The Spartans defeated Lafayette 2-0 to advance.
The two MCC teams have split a pair of games during the regular season.
“(It’s) Always a tough game and a strong rivalry,” Michler said about playing De Smet. “We won the most recent game (against them) so we had the belief we could win again.”
The result was the same as in the semifinal — another 1-0 win in penalty kicks.
CBC keeper Nick Randazzo played well and kept the Cadets in the game.
“Randazzo made two incredible saves,” Michler said. “We had a few chances also but nothing came from them. De Smet had the better part of the first overtime and we had the second one.”
Before the overtime began, Michler stressed to his team to keep playing hard.
“(The) season’s on the line – don’t focus on being tired, focus on the next play,” Michler said he told his team. “Pass the ball and make De Smet chase. Take some shots and score a goal.”
It went into penalty kicks. CBC won again 4-3. Converted for CBC were Edwards, Nolan DeWeese, Walsh and Temm.
It was the fifth time this year the Cadets have won a game on penalty kicks.
“Both teams played well,” Michler said.
What Michler liked was what his team showed him.
“Our mental toughness,” Michler said. “I did not sub much — one player throughout the game and another one for the last OT. We were totally exhausted and rallied to stay alive and score our PKs as needed.
“De Smet subbed freely the entire game. I’m very proud of the boys. They showed their grit.”
Winning two tough district games will help his team as it continues to play, Michler said.
“We played two very difficult opponents who were very capable of winning the entire thing,” It was a big confidence boost. They very excited and very tired.”