The Kewpies are on a losing streak at the worst possible time.
The Helias Crusaders beat Hickman 1-0 at Hickman Stadium on Tuesday night. Eddie Mulholland’s header provided the lone goal, in the 17th minute.
The Kewpies’ fourth straight loss came on senior night, dropping their record to 9-10-3. The Crusaders improved to 19-3.
The Kewpies have scored only one goal in their last four games, and coach Jon Strodtman doesn’t know what exactly is plaguing his offense heading into districts.
“If we knew we wouldn’t have the problems we have,” Strodtman said. “We’re running out of time. We need to figure it out in a hurry.”
Each teams had only one loss against district opponents, to Rock Bridge, and this game decided who gets the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in district play.
Before the game, Helias coach Chuck Register made sure his team didn’t forget the district implications.
“Right before we started playing I said ‘Fellas this is for a bye because I would hate to play back-to-back games in districts,’” Register said.
The Crusaders dominated possession for the first 35 minutes of the half, playing in the Kewpies’ end. Their accurate passing that led to many opportunities for shots on the Kewpies’ goal.
The Crusaders had seven corner kicks to Hickman’s none in the first half, and scored the deciding goal off their second corner kick of the half, in the 17th minute.
Mark Cowley placed the corner kick in the Kewpies’ box. It was headed first by Justin Remmert, then Mulholland headed the rebound past Hickman keeper Drew Huckla.
Huckla was in good position to stop the first header but was caught off guard by the second one.
“I didn’t see him at all,” Huckla said. “I was focused on the ball.”
The Kewpies finally strung together scoring opportunities in the last five minutes of the half.
Michael Washington had a shot that went wide of the left post in the 35th minute after Jordan Cox had dribbled through Crusader defenders. Cox had another opportunity minutes later but his shot was stopped by Helias keeper Drew Humphreys.
Helias re-established control early in the second half.
The Crusaders threatened to score in the 58th minute when Calvin Keth’s shot from about 20 yards out bounced off the Hickman crossbar.
The Kewpies showed a strong offensive in the final 10 minutes of the game, trading transition opportunities with the Crusaders.
With less than two minutes left, consecutive passes from Joe Schaeperkoetter and Cox found Hickman’s Jay Johnson open near the goal, but Johnson’s shot was too high. “I was really disappointed because I wanted that opportunity and there it was, but lunging for it was the best I could do,” Johnson said.
Although the Kewpies’ offense mustered opportunities late in each half, the Crusaders controlled the majority of the game.
The Crusaders finished with 10 shots to the Kewpies’ four and the Kewpies failed to get a corner kick in the game.
Register thought his team’s offense was the biggest reason for controlling the Kewpies’ offense.
“We always say that we play better defense if we are on offense,” Register said.