BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The inevitable was one goal away, so there was no need to delay it, certainly not in the postseason.
Mitchell Pothitakis’ second goal of the game 32 seconds into the second half finished Fort Madison’s 10-0 win over Keokuk in Thursday’s Class 2A Substate 5 quarterfinal at the Baxter Sports Complex.
The Bloodhounds (15-1), the second seed, play host to third seed Clear Creek-Amana in Monday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal.
Fort Madison outscored Keokuk 31-1 in three matches this season, but this wasn’t about running up the score. Fort Madison coach Kevin Wellman said it was about getting ready for the next round.
“The longer you’re out there, the better the chances that something weird can happen,” Wellman said. “And that goes for both teams. Twist your ankle, or something. Just get it over with.”
The Bloodhounds were relentless, and it started early, something Wellman appreciated. They scored four goals in the first 10 minutes.
“We’ve had some games where it’s taken us 10 minutes to wake up,” Wellman said. “We didn’t do that tonight. So that’s good. That’s good as we go into tougher and tougher games, and that’s what it’s going to be as the season goes along.”
Will Gager gave the Bloodhounds a 1-0 lead with his goal at the 3:42 mark. Jacob Pothitakis scored the first of his two goals 83 seconds later, then Mitchell Pothitakis scored on a penalty kick.
Xander Wellman then scored three consecutive goals, the first on a header off a pass from Will Larson. Jacob Pothitakis, Reiburn Turnbull and Austin Miller closed the first-half scoring.
The Chiefs never got a shot against Fort Madison’s defense.
Fort Madison, ranked ninth in the state in Class 2A, hasn’t lost since a season-opening overtime defeat to top-ranked (Class 1A) Notre Dame.
The postseason road only gets more difficult. Clear Creek-Amana is ranked 13th, and the other side of the bracket features No. 4 Pella and Southeast Conference rival Fairfield.
Kevin Wellman said he’s already looked at some video of Clear Creek-Amana.
“I think if we take care of our business, do what we do, we’ll be fine,” he said.