Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The plan for West High entering the Class 4A, Substate 5 title game was to set the tone early.
West High executed that plan to a level of perfection that even head coach Brad Stiles couldn’t quite believe.
Sixth-ranked West High scored twice in the opening four minutes on Wednesday and never relented in a 9-3 win over No. 16 Dubuque Senior at Barker Field in Iowa City.
“Going into the substate game I thought it was going to be a fight,” West High senior Michael Nelson said. “In these games we want to score first, score quick and set the tempo.”
Nelson and junior Kaleab Wendy each scored in the opening four minutes and seven West High players scored goals as the Trojans advanced to the state tournament for the seventh straight season.
West High will face No. 10 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (12-2) in a 4A quarterfinal on Tuesday at 7:20 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
“We thought we could exploit a couple things and I thought it would take us 12 or 15 minutes to find that first opening instead of a few minutes,” Stiles said. “I wasn’t exactly expecting that but we will take it for sure.”
Nelson scored three times and six of his teammates found the net on Wednesday as West High improved to 15-2 on the season with its 11th consecutive win.
Dubuque Senior, which upset No. 12 Bettendorf 3-2 in the Substate 5 semifinals on Monday, closed the season at 12-5.
“It feels good,” Nelson said. “It feels good to get back to state and it felt good to play well tonight. I am glad to see the boys pull through.”
Nelson got West High rolling early on Wednesday with a goal less than two minutes into the match.
The early spark from Nelson ignited a full-on scoring explosion from West High.
“I think that’s just Michael Nelson being Michael Nelson,” Stiles said. “I think he was just ready for the day and they told me he was really on fire during warmups so we will take it.
Wendy made it 2-0 Trojans with his 16th goal of the season and the rout was on.
“We saw the film of them against Bettendorf and we knew we had to get an early lead and get control of the game,” Wendy said. “That’s what we did.”
Ruichar Medina and Adam Salem scored goals to make it 4-0 and West High took a 5-0 lead on the second goal of the half by Nelson with 12:19 remaining before halftime.
Owen Hull scored on a penalty kick for Dubuque Senior in the 29th minute to cut the lead to 5-1 but Nicholas Zhang and Baraka Madumba each added goals before halftime as West High built a 7-1 advantage.
“There is a lot of pressure coming into this game,” Wendy said. “We felt like this was going to be a close game and we had to play our best game and I think that’s what we did.”
Nelson scored his third goal of the match just 40 seconds into the second half and Erwann Charles capped the West High scoring with a goal with 3:49 remaining.
Nyle Jenkins had a pair of goals in the final 8:05 for Dubuque Senior.
“I think we are coming together as a team at the right time when the season is on the line,” Wendy said. “We don’t want it to end early so we are playing our best soccer right now.”