Within the first five minutes of its game against Tolton on Monday, Hickman found itself leading 1-0.
It was the same start the Kewpies had a week prior against a different crosstown rival in Rock Bridge. But it wouldn’t be the same finish.
Junior Jaiden Taing scored the first goal on a corner kick following a defensive mistake by the Trailblazers.
Only a few minutes later, he scored another — and another.
Before 10 minutes had passed, Taing had a hat trick and Hickman was leading Tolton 3-0 on the Trailblazers’ turf.
“After the first one, I was just shocked it came so early,” Taing said. “The second one, it was just kind of the same. And then the third one hit and we were just super excited. (It) got the whole team pumped. I think it got the team going the right direction.”
Hickman (3-3, 1-3 Central Missouri Activities Conference) went on to score twice more against Tolton (3-6) for a final score of 5-0. It was the first time since 2016 that the Kewpies came out on top over the Trailblazers, losing 6-2 in 2019 and 4-3 in a penalty shootout last season. The victory also broke a three-game losing streak for Hickman.
“It always feels good to beat a Columbia team,” Taing said. “You know half the team, so it’s like kind of just nag at them a bit, but it’s all fun, competitive play at the end of the day.”
Taing’s set-play goals were something he said the team worked on over the past week following Hickman’s 2-1 loss against Rock Bridge. Kewpies coach Wil Ross said the success on those plays was a positive sign for his offense.
“That means we’re getting the ball in good spots to begin with and then (Taing’s) going and getting the ball,” he said. “That’s a good sign when we’ve got somebody that’s being aggressive and attacking. And teammates putting balls in good spots for him to go get it. So, that’s what we kind of need.”
Hickman added one more in the first half on an across-the-goal shot by junior Paul Morpurgo after Tolton goalkeeper Alex Steffes stepped off the goal line. The Kewpies fifth goal was scored in the second half by junior Ilhan Dervisevic.
Kewpie keeper Eli Larsen kept the Trailblazers scoreless, though they had significantly less chances on offense than Hickman. Tolton has scored just 15 goals this season while allowing 26 from its opponents.
“We’re trying to get the ball in as deep as we possibly can,” Tolton coach Chuck Register said. “They got their foot on a few things that we had chances on. Just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. That’s been our problem this year so far.”
Register said that finishing and getting open on runs are two of the things his team needs to improve on, but overall he’s seen a good amount of growth since the start of the season. The Trailblazers are working with a younger roster this year, featuring 15 freshmen and sophomores to just nine juniors and seniors.
“It’s just we’re working with younger kids and trying to mix with the older ones that have played kind of together,” Register said. “It’s just gonna take a little bit to get over that hump and once we do we’ll see what comes to fruition.”
While both teams are still only about halfway through their seasons, Tolton has played three more games. This is the first week that Hickman has more than one game — they have four, including Monday’s.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to go get some wins hopefully and at least play well and see what we look like playing multiple games in a short window,” Ross said. “Hopefully, our depth kind of carries us through and we have enough momentum now.”
Tolton next plays St. Francis Borgia at 5 p.m. Thursday on the road. When the two teams met earlier this season, the Trailblazers lost 2-3.
Hickman will also travel, playing Camdenton at 5 p.m. Thursday.