Two goals in final three minutes rescues fifth-ranked Bluejays

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Perry's Jeffry Gutierrez (5) passes to Ivan Garcia (14) as German Alvarenga (7) and David Cardenas (21) follow the action during a match with Boone at Dewey Field April 21.

HUXLEY — Senior forward Ivan Garcia scored with three minutes to play and again a minute later to save Class 2A No. 5 Perry in a Raccoon River Conference battle with Ballard.

Garcia scored on an individual move and blast into the top of the goal in the 77th minute to tie the game at 2-all, then used an almost identical solo display in the 78th minute to give Perry (9-1, 5-0) a 3-2 victory.

“We didn’t really play as well as would have liked, but, honestly, when you can play poorly and win, that is a good sign,” Perry head coach Gary Overla said. “We had plenty of opportunities in the first half to score, but we simply didn’t finish. Then, with 1:07 left in the half, we allowed them to score off a header on a free kick — maddening!”

Riley Fleener’s assist set up Connor VanMaaren’s goal to create the 1-0 Bomber lead at the intermission.

David Cardenas knotted the contest at 1-all with a shot that, similar to the two Garcia goals, found the net just under the crossbar.

VanMaaren gave Ballard (4-5, 1-3) a 2-1 edge six minutes later by taking a Wade Stocksleiger throw-in in front of the Perry goal and sticking the ball into the webbing. The score marked only the second time in two-and-a-half seasons that Perry has allowed more than one goal in a game.

“I don’t want to sound cliche, but our kids really played with a tremendous amount of heart after that,” Overla stated. “We controlled the ball in front of their goal for the remainder of the game and didn’t really give them any opportunities to wiggle away from us. I was really proud of the fact that we never gave up hop and we simply kept pounding away at them until we finally wore them down.”

The Bluejay junior varsity also continued to roll with a 4-0 victory over the Bombers.

“The kids played real well and were able to control the ball the whole game,” Overla said. “Ballard never really threatened. The JV is thus far undefeated and will have a tough match on Thursday against Dallas Center-Grimes.”

The Jays will face a tough Mustang squad in Grimes in their next text. DC-G is 6-4 overall but owns impressive wins over Pella and seventh-ranked and 13-2 ADM.

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