Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – The statistics favored City High.
Shots, corner kicks and scoring opportunities all slanted in the direction of the Little Hawks in their Class 3A state quarterfinal match with Bettendorf on Thursday.
The scoreboard however belonged to the Bulldogs.
Bettendorf scored the only goal of the match on a Dawson Gamble header in the 66th minute to stun fourth-ranked City High 1-0 at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.
“They had a lot of corners, they were putting a lot of pressure on us so we knew if we had an opportunity we had to take advantage,” Gamble said. “I got a chance and I made the most of it.”
Bettendorf (15-2) avenged a 3-0 regular season loss to City High with the win and returned to the 3A semifinals for the second consecutive season.
The third-ranked Bulldogs will face No. 6 Ankeny (16-4) on Friday at 5:05 while City High (16-5) saw its season end in the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in five seasons. s
“I don’t know what it is, if I knew what it was I would try to solve it but I don’t know what it is,” City High coach Jose Michel Fajardo said. “All I know is that we are better than most of the teams that we play against here and we end up losing. That’s what I know.”
City High appeared to be in control for much of the first half but couldn’t convert on a couple of early scoring opportunities and went to the half locked in a scoreless tie.
The Little Hawks appeared to break through in the opening minute of the second half but a sliding goal by Cameron Chavez off a Ben Steve feed was negated by an offside call.
City High upped its intensity as the game went on and created one dangerous opportunity after another in the final 35 minutes.
As City High earned corner kick after corner kick as it continued to press forward in the final 20 minutes but Bettendorf turned each one away.
“Holy smokes, Iowa City is so clinical, they are so technical and I thought they had us,” Bettendorf coach Ben Pennington said. “But you know what you fight for 80 minutes and good things happen.”
Ironically, Bettendorf got its breakthrough on one of its few corner kick opportunities.
Junior Ian Silva played a nearly perfect ball toward the back post and Gamble leaped above a defender to get a head on it, directing it into the goal.
I just pretty much put myself in front of the keep and I knew that Ian Silva was going to play a good curling ball in,” Gamble said. “I just went up and got it I guess.”
It was the first of the season and just the second career goal for Gamble,
“We talked and talked and talked that if they were going to win this game it was going to be from a free kick or a corner and it happened,” Fajardo said. “We gave them a corner and we have to put the blame on ourselves and congratulate them They did what they had to do.”
City High nearly got the equalizer less than three minutes later but Bettendorf keeper Micah Poole swallowed up a Chavez shot from close range with a diving save.
Micah made some great saves,” Pennington said. “I just thought, the set pieces we gave to Iowa City they are just clinical and I’m glad we are playing two more games.”
Chavez had a header sail wide with 5:42 left and City High never seriously threatened after that.
It was the first time City High had been shutout at state since a 1-0 loss to West Des Moines Valley in 2012, a span of 10 state tournament matches
City High has now gone four state tournament matches without posting double digit goals following a 2-1 loss to Ames in the quarterfinals last year.
“We are not performing when we are here, we are underperforming,” Fajardo said. “Starting with me I feel that we all have to evaluate what we are doing here because we are not doing it right.”