Top-ranked Mustangs deny Titans’ return to state; Rams fall to Bluejays

The defending champs went down in Wednesday’s substate 7 final as Class 3A No. 1 Dallas Center-Grimes topped Class 3A No. 13 Lewis Central 4-2 in Grimes to advance to the state tournament.

Each team got on the board within the first 10 minutes of the first half, but the Mustangs scored another midway through the first and again late in the first to put

“They got a couple of balls to bounce their way early on,” Titans coach James Driver said. “Hats off to Dallas Center, they a really good squad and we knew that coming in., they’re coached well. They had some balls bounce their way in the first half and scored some goals, but for the most part, I felt like we started slow. We slept walked and were reactive instead of proactive which helped them beat us to some 50/50 balls and they wanted it more in the first half.”

Brogan Fuller scored the first goal on a long bomb kick from about 30 yards out, to put the Mustangs in front in the eighth minute. However, it took less than a minute for the Titans to respond and knot the game up 1-1 as Brayden Shepard booted it in through a crowd.

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About 10 minutes later Colin Mandernach scored on a breakaway to put the Mustangs back in front and Wisley Kabamba scored with less than five minutes to go in the half to give DCG an insurance goal right before the half.

The Titans made things interesting as Brandon Hoss scored in the 66th minute off an assist from Boston Hensley. But the Mustangs iced the game with a goal with four minutes left to play to clinch the 4-2 win.

“At halftime, we made some adjustments and changes to our formation and tactics,” Driver said. “I feel like our team responded pretty well and we got within one, got some momentum towards the end, but they got a late one. I’m proud of the guys for the way they fought, they didn’t give up and we stuck together.”

Lewis Central ends the 2023 season with a record of 12-6 and will graduate five seniors in Caden VonWeihe, Brandon Shew, Boston Hensley, Jayke McKern, and Julian Humpal.

“The seniors will be missed,” Driver said. “We had a relatively young squad this year, so we’ll have a lot coming back, these seniors put in a lot of hard work for us over the past four years and I’m grateful for them and the hard work they’ve done and the leadership they’ve provided for our program.

“This loss hurts, it’s going to leave a bit of a sour taste in our mouth, but it’ll drive us this summer to work harder and get better and get to the opportunities that’ll be provided to us in the summer. We’ve been pretty blessed by making it at least to this game over the past six to seven years. I know our guys will continue to fight and continue to improve in the offseason and I’d expect us to be back here next year if not further in the state tournament next year.”

Lewis Central (12-6) 1 1 – 2

Dallas Center-Grimes (13-3) 3 1 – 4

The Rams fell to the Bluejays in the substate 2A-8 final, with Perry taking a 2-0 lead into halftime. One of three seniors, Caden Johnson cut the deficit to 2-1 with 13:42 left in the match, but the Bluejays added a third goal to round out their win and end the Rams season.

Glenwood (11-4) 0 1 — 1