Perryville striker Dayton Strattman pierced St. Pius X for three goals and the Pirates seized control of the Jefferson County Activities Association with a commanding 5-0 shutout.
Strattman leads Perryville with 17 goals this season and notched two of his three in the first half at Father Dalton Stadium on Oct. 3. Senior midfielder Jake Unterreiner had a goal and two assists for the Pirates, who improved to 13-2 and 4-0 in the JCAA. Perryville has one more conference game remaining, against Windsor (4-9, 0-2) on Oct. 23.
When the Lancers (5-6-1, 2-1) and Pirates collide, the games are usually low-scoring and settled by a single goal.
St. Pius beat Perryville 2-1 en route to a 5-0 finish and JCAA title in 2018. In 2017, the Pirates beat the Lancers 3-1 at the end of the regular season only to lose 1-0 in a rematch six days later in the Class 2 District 1 tournament.
“They’re a great team. We came out tonight and wanted to win,” Strattman said. “We had a chip on our shoulder because they beat us last year. It’s not going to be easy, because they’ll want to win that much more if we play them in districts.
“We’re playing good right now, but we’re still not where we want to be. Sometimes we start a half slow. We’ve got to get fired up from the get-go and I felt like we did that in the first half.”
St. Pius head coach Aaron Portell said his team’s changed from last year.
“They (Perryville) brought everybody back from last year’s team and we had quite a few graduate,” he said. “They have more experience than we do at this time. It was hard to put a couple of passes together to get scoring opportunities against a very good team.”
On Strattman’s first goal, Unterreiner passed the ball right to his foot and he quickly beat St. Pius goalie Chase Marnin with a shot.
“Jake played an absolutely phenomenal game tonight,” Strattman said.
Senior forward Austin Weik assisted on Strattman’s second goal, and Unterreiner was there for the set up on his final tally.
“They’ve got several good players,” Portell said of the Pirates.
Marnin has been learning the art of playing goal this fall. He made several quality saves with quick lateral movement.
“He’s getting better each game. He didn’t have any experience (in goal) before this season,” Portell said. “Without him in there, it could have easily been 8-0.”
The Lancers’ best chance to score came with a few minutes left in the game when senior midfielder Gabe Verzola blasted a penalty kick over Perryville keeper Ty Baudendistel and the crossbar. Verzola is tied with Noah Campbell with a team-high three goals this year.
“There was some frustration there. He’s earned his spot there,” Portell said of Verzola. “He doesn’t usually miss those. He’ll have to shake that off.”
The Pirates are hosting District 1 later this month with St. Pius, Notre Dame Cape Girardeau and Fredericktown. The Bulldogs have won two of the last three titles, including last season. The Lancers are in Cape Girardeau on Friday to play Notre Dame.
“We have to go through Perryville or Notre Dame Cape Girardeau in districts,” Portell said. “We might have to face one of them again.”