CEDAR RAPIDS — Minutes after the boys’ soccer match, Cedar Rapids Prairie senior Andrew Russell pointed at the field and gave an emotional declaration.
“These are the moments that you live for right now,” Russell exclaimed. “These moments that you play for. These comeback ones.”
The words were born of a victory that seemed unlikely. Trailing Class 3A No. 13 Cedar Rapids Kennedy with 1:25 left in the match, 2-1, Russell gave his team new life with the tying goal as the eighth-ranked Hawks went on to defeat the Cougars 3-2 in overtime in a Mississippi Valley Conference match Monday night at John Wall Field.
“I knew that we had two players that I trust a lot, Caleb (Halleran) and Mateaus (Lewis), right in behind me,” Russell said. “I was going up top. … I was trying to just ride the wave that I was riding the rest of the night. They got me the ball, I made a play and it ended up going my way.”
The goal was the second of the game and sixth this season for Russell. Less than five minutes into overtime, he assisted on the game-winning goal by Lewis.
For a program that graduated seven senior starters — a group that helped win 56 matches over the previous four seasons — this type of gut-check win was an important step in continuing that winning tradition.
“We’re young obviously because we lost a lot,” said Lewis, a first team all-state selection last year and Missouri-Kansas City recruit who leads the Hawks with eight goals this season. “But we have a lot of heart and that is the big thing about this year is not giving up because our potential is there but we’re not experienced enough. The effort always has to be there to keep going.”
Lewis was credited with an assist on the tying goal, while senior defender Jayce Berger assisted on the first Russell goal, which broke a scoreless tie less than eight minutes into the match.
Kennedy (2-2, 1-1 MVC) tied the match at 1-1 in the 25th minute when junior Curtis Ratzer converted a penalty kick. Midway through the second half, the Cougars claimed the lead with a goal by sophomore Ombeni Mubake, which arrived just two minutes after Kennedy goalkeeper Samuel Earl saved a Lewis penalty kick.
Prairie is now 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the MVC.
“These are the ones that you’ve got to get,” Russell said. “These are what the big boys play for. The conference games and the rivalry games and the Metro games and the big ones here at home.”
AT JOHN WALL FIELD
Class 3A No. 8 Cedar Rapids Prairie 3, No. 13 Cedar Rapids Kennedy 2 (OT1)
Goals — CRK: Curtis Ratzer (1), Ombeni Mubake (1); CRP: Andrew Russell 2 (6), Mateaus Lewis (8).
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