Special to the Sun Herald
BAY ST. LOUIS-- Behind Ethan Loftin's hattrick, Bay High beat East Central 4-0 in the second round of the Class 4A state soccer playoffs on Friday night at Tank Williams Field.
The Tigers reached their third consecutive consecutive 4A South State championship game. Bay High will face the St. Stanislaus-Northeast Jones winner on Tuesday night. St. Stanislaus, the defending 4A state champions, would host Bay High with a victory.
Bay High scored four first-half goals en-route to a 4-0 halftime lead. That was all the Tigers needed to reach the 4A State Semifinals.
"What we wanted to do is pressure, pressure, pressure," said Tigers' coach Kelly Ross. "Once we started getting corner kicks and throw ins at their end, that's when things started turning."
With 18:25 remaining in the first half, Loftin scored from 15 yards out on an assist from Mark Johnson.
Two minutes later, Loftin's second goal gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Loftin's third goal of the night, completing his hat trick with 4:20 remaining before halftime.
"Ethan played like I thought he would," said Ross. "Mark Johnson played really well. Bo Bowman did a great job of holding the attention of their best defender."
Cameron Breland closed out the game's scoring from 20 yards out with 1:41 remaining in the first half for Bay High.