After lighting up the scoreboard against Carroll on Thursday, the Bluejays were back at it in Perry on Saturday, May 11 for a tournament that may preview the upcoming substate slate.
Perry woke up for a 9 a.m. kickoff, hosting Des Moines North later bookended by a match with Lewis Central, which Perry is likely to face in their first substate game on May 25.
The whole affair was good preparation for what’s to come at the close of the regular season. In a 3-2 win over DMN, Perry was forced into penalty kicks after DMN tied the game up 2-2 in the closing minutes to answer Mario Saldana’s slick shot that first appeared to be the dagger at 2-1 moments earlier.
Heading into overtime, this was the first shootout the Bluejays have had all season, giving some extra practice in high stake situations. Though, ever the coach he is, Overla felt the team could have easily won 4-0 without fear of going into extra kicks.
For the first time going through the process, Perry walked away relatively unscathed. Head coach Gary Overla said he was pleased with the overall strategy in overtime, gaining a quick 1-0 lead that led to DMN missing its tying shot. Perry took the extra kicks 4-2 without a flinch, giving a boost of confidence heading into the final matchup with Lewis Central.
While beating DMN was a net positive, ultimately pushing Perry up the record boards, the game with Central gave them a different sense of motivation.
Central walked away undefeated on the day, leaving Dewey Field with a team photo under the goal posts as Perry huddled for a post-game discussion of things to improve. As the team Perry has its eyes on for substate, it gave an added sense of urgency for the next week and a half.
Despite playing back-to-back games, Central ran on to the field without a pause, putting up the first tick on the scoreboard off a Paul Devine kick within the first five minutes. Seven minutes later, Devine struck again, pushing Perry into a corner.
That corner was evidently too tight to overcome, unable to find creases in the Central defense, leading to some missed kicks near the goal that Perry has routinely made this season.
Ultimately, Perry was also playing shorthanded without three of its starters including Tomas Lopez, typically able to help push back.
“In the end, in the big scheme of things, this game means nothing,” Overla said. “I’m glad [Central is] so happy that they beat us. That shows we’re a team that it’s a big deal to beat us.”
After splitting their games, the Bluejays land at 10-5 on the season — three more wins than at this point in 2018. They have two more games in the regular season with hosting duties for Des Moines Lincoln on Monday, May 13 and Pella on that Thursday.