CEDAR RAPIDS — As the ball lofted its way through the air and down toward Cedar Rapids Washington’s Keaton Woods, there was one thought running through his head.
“Don’t miss,” Woods said. “That was about it.”
Woods played it off his chest, dribbled, and sent the ball streaking past Iowa City West keeper Zach Frisbie. The goal, which came at the 20:34 mark, was the deciding score of the 1-0 game and continued the No. 14 Warriors’ (10-6) win streak — now at four— with an upset win over the No. 7 Trojans (10-6) Tuesday at Kingston Stadium.
Woods’ goal was his 16th of the season and just adds on to a brilliant sophomore campaign in which he’s also tallied nine assists. He’s accurate, too — 35 of his 55 shots are on goal.
That’s 41 points, which is the fourth-highest mark in Class 3A. Oh, and the sophomore hurt his knee last year, playing in just eight games. His recovery certainty seems to have gone well, as it certainly didn’t rob him of his speed.
It had to have been frustrating sitting out and the talented forward makes the type of plays that just make the crowd go “wow.”
“He’s really coming on strong,” Warriors head coach J.P. Graham said. “When we switched some stuff up earlier in the season, it gave him a bit more space and it’s working.”
Dominant through much of the first half, the Warriors had a number of opportunities to extend their lead. During the moments West was able to break through the front line of the Washington defense, its defenders and midfielders were able to make a nice array of tackles and stops.
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Offensively, the Warriors were a bit down, compared to what they’ve been doing recently, though Graham readily admitted there were a few opportunities they could have taken advantage of in the first half to extend the lead, but overall was happy with his squad’s performance.
Washington has now scored 26 goals in its last six games, going 5-1 in the span.
“We feel pretty good right now,” Graham said. “All of our losses have been by one goal, against good teams. Close games. Ball wasn’t always bouncing our way, but now our kids have a bit more confidence.”
The Warriors are a young team, with plenty of room to grow. In fact, three of their top-five current points leaders will be back next season.
But, of course, there’s a feeling right now on the team something special this year might be in the works.
“Tonight they learned how to win a big game,” Graham said. “That’s important, going into substate next week.”
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