It was a match to move past for the Dickinson Midgets, with their season coming to an end after they received a pummelling from Bismarck Century, losing 10-2 in the WDA boys soccer state qualifying game in Mandan Saturday afternoon.
Facing last season state champions was always going to be a challenge, but injuries would tear down the young Dickinson program to put state level competition out of reach.
Dickinson found themselves in an early deficit as Century took a 2-0 lead.
“It was a hard loss … We did pretty good all around, but we just lost momentum,” Dickinson head coach Akindeji Oluwafemi said. “I think that’s what we need to work on, our vibe and our spirit on the field.”
The Patriots continued firing shots on goal and would put up four in the first half, threatening to run away with the game before the halftime whistle.
But the Midgets refused to surrender the match, despite the uphill battle they found themselves in. Senior fullback Fabrico Pereira put in two late goals in the first, one of them assisted by senior forward Jack Homiston, to cut into the deficit 4-2.
“Fabricio is super good and my biggest fear was if I took him off the defense, they would score, and if we didn’t put him up front, we wouldn’t score,” Oluwafemi said. “The first half was 4-2, we could have come back. We just lost momentum....I know we kept talking about it, that the game isn’t over until it’s over, but it is what it is.”
Century continued their war path with two quick goals over goalkeeper Jace Hughes to start the second half, making it 6-2.
Patriots' junior midfielder Brooks Turner kept the Midgets’ defense on their toes with three assists. A majority of their goals came from the foot of senior forward Anthony Cleary, who tallied four. Senior midfielder Chance Bowlinger would also be a handful with four shots on target, two of which finding the back of the net.
Even though they remained scoreless throughout the second half Dickinson put up four more shots, three from Pereira and two from senior midfielder Lucus Martins Reis.
Dickinson’s season-long injuries grew more evident and had them reaching their limits. Constant swaps of their players, holding unfamiliar territories were there for the taking for Century.
“It’s hard when the majority of your players are injured. Half of the team was playing with injuries
Justin, Owen, Grant, they were all playing with injuries,” Oluwafemi said. “They still gave 100 %, that gives me joy.”
This was the second year for the Midgets soccer program and both years they have made it to the second round in the WDA championship. A true heartbreak for the large senior class on the team, but they still left the field with cherished memories and staple their place in Dickinson young chapters of their origin into WDA soccer.
“I know for sure if we were healthy, without injuries, it wouldn’t have been this score … I was really looking forward to state, but there is always next year,” Oluwafemi said. “I hope to get an early start, training in the summer and be ready for next season.”