BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Kevin Wellman has been talking about a “keeping the foot on the gas” mentality for the Fort Madison boys soccer team.
The Bloodhounds seem in NASCAR mode these days, and their coach likes that.
Tuesday’s 11-1 win over Central Lee at the Baxter Sports Complex was the eighth consecutive victory for Fort Madison, who moved up to No. 12 in Class 2A in the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association rankings earlier in the day.
The Bloodhounds, whose only loss of the season came to No. 2 Notre Dame (Class 1A) in the season opener, have scored 60 goals in the current winning streak, an offensive pressure that continued in this victory.
Wellman remembered the last time the Bloodhounds played Central Lee back in 2019, when the Hawks took a 6-2 win.
“I wasn’t happy with that result,” he said. “For about a year and a half, I thought it was 8-1, because that’s what it felt like.”
It’s why Wellman preached a fast start.
It took a little while to get the first goal — Fort Madison missed six scoring chances in the first 13 minutes — before the Bloodhounds’ goal outburst began. They scored five goals in a span of less than five minutes — two from Mitchell Pothitakis and three from Xander Wellman.
It was 8-0 at halftime, with Wellman and Pothitakis each having three goals in the half.
“We were firing shots, and they weren’t on target,” Kevin Wellman said. “That was something that we fixed. That was the one tiny problem that we had. We fixed it, and got into a rhythm about 10-15 minutes in. We were able to put some away then.”
Pothitakis added his fourth goal 6:09 into the second half for a 9-0 lead. Central Lee (2-3) got its lone goal when Mason Schau’s shot from near midfield sneaked in the top of the net, then Fort Madison closed the scoring when Will Larson scored his second goal of the night with 26:33 to play, then Jacob Pothitakis added his second goal of the game 3 1/2 minutes later.
Fort Madison gets back into Southeast Conference play with Thursday’s home match against Keokuk. The Bloodhounds have a two-game lead in the conference with a 6-0 record.
“I like the way we’re playing right now,” Wellman said. “We’ve really improved with our defense in the back. We won the ball out of the air today really, really well. That’s stopping the other team’s attack before it gets started. And we’re doing the right things offensively, we just need to finish better at times.”