Mustangs soccer blazes by Ballard in season opener

Sean Cordy
Correspondent

The Mustangs will have to wait at least another couple of days before playing their first full game in nearly two years. After last year's lost COVID season, Dallas Center-Grimes (1-0) boys soccer opened the season Friday with a 10-0 win over Ballard (0-2) that was cut short thanks to the 10-point mercy rule.

Hot start 

It didn't take long for DCG to get the ball rolling. Not even 10 minutes passed and junior Jacob Ewers was in for the team's first point of the season and his first-ever goal in a varsity jersey. He'd contribute three goals total on the night.

"It felt great to knock the rust off. We haven't played in a long time," Ewers told the Dallas County News. "It was kind of devastating because freshman year I didn't get a chance to step on a varsity field and sophomore year I didn't get a chance either. I just kind of coiled up all the energy and let it loose."

Jacob Ewers in action during DCG's home opener against Ballard on Friday, April 2.

Ewers was tied at the top with senior Eli Followwill also earning three goals. Fellow senior Jacob Adams scored twice while junior Kendall Bickford earned one. Ballard accidentally scored on itself for that remaining point.

Reverse the script

All told, Friday was a flurry of success for the Mustangs especially compared to Ballard's 7-0 shutout in 2019. DCG head coach Collin Lane gave props to his team's ability to follow the script, effectively controlling possessions the entire evening with a heavy focus on patiently working downfield to prevent opportunities on their own net.

"I couldn't ask for a better way to start it," Lane said. "We started figuring out that chemistry we need to build throughout the season when we play a lot of tough opponents."

Kendall Bickford moves the ball during DCG's home opener against Ballard on Friday, April 2.

Ahead for the Mustangs are a number of teams that hit double-digit wins in 2019 including Gilbert, which beat DCG in the state tournament quarterfinals. ADM, Des Moines Christian and Grinnell also bring notable power to the table. On the immediate horizon at home March 6 is Oskaloosa (0-1) which has not had a winning season in over a decade.

No such thing as bad experience

DCG will rely largely on young talent to keep up the pace as the Mustangs boast only three seniors at the moment. Lane said there may be one more elder man to join, but the bulk of opportunities lands on players like Ewers on their first varsity roster.

"But they're experienced players. That's the best part," Lane said. "They come from club teams and they're sure to fit into the possession game exactly like I want them to. They're gonna be huge contributors."

Though they didn't get shots in the net, freshman Ben Jackson (1 assist) and Konnor May (2 assists) look to be considerable contributors right out of the gate. 

Ben Jackson moves the ball upfield during the home opener against Ballard on Friday, April 2.