DEPUE — Jackson Heiden and Bryan Fuentes may not be Batman and Robin, but they played like a Dynamic Duo on Tuesday.
They had five goals (Heiden) and two assists (Fuentes) between them to power the DePue-Hall boys soccer team to an 8-1 win over bigger neighbor Princeton on the DePue soccer pitch.
Sophomore midfielder Mauricio Ruiz added two assists and a goal as the Little Giants improved to 5-4.
“It’s nice to win. It’s good for the boys,” DePue coach Martin Moreno said.
Heiden, a junior from Hall who has played soccer since preschool and has Division I aspirations, knows he has to be ready to score at all times for the Little Giants.
“I try my best to get as many goals as I can for them because they rely on me. But most of the time, we usually use me and Bryan Fuentes,” Heiden said. “Me and him are neck and neck for leading scorers. We’re kind of like the Dynamic Duo. Whenever I’m off, he’s there for me. Whenever he’s off, I’m there for him.”
Heiden had one of DePue’s two goals scored on headers off corner kicks from the sophomore Ruiz. Senior midfielder Calvin Schmollinger had the other.
“It’s nice being first to the ball and just attacking the ball,” Heiden said.
Endive Banuelos, another sophomore midfielder, also found the back of the net for the Little Giants.
The Tigers were swift to the goal when junior Jacob Swift scored in the 26th minute to tie the game at 1-1.
But that was the only highlight of the day for the Tigers.
“As a coach, you wish you could put on a uniform and help them being a former player, but I’m not allowed to do that,” PHS coach David Gray said. “We try to make changes to the lineup here and there and try to tweak to find the right combination … But we’re just not a very good team. That’s the bottom line.
“Tonight, I feel like we didn’t put forward our best effort and that’s what’s frustrating. (Monday) night we felt really good about it (in an 8-1 loss to Orion-Sherrard). We took steps forward, but I feel like tonight was a couple steps backward. I don’t know if it’s because we were playing back-to-back nights. But it was not our best night, that’s for sure.”
Gray said the Tigers (2-11) had no answer for Heiden.
“He’s a good player, but he even looks better when we leave him standing free, too. Good players make you pay when you leave them open and let them dribble through you,” Gray said. “Obviously, five goals is a good game for him.”
Gray, who coached three years at DePue — two as head coach — in the mid-2000s, knows any time the Little Giants can beat Princeton it’s a big win for them. He did encourage the Little Giants at one point not to stretch out their celebrations too long.
“I’m sure in the past, it wasn’t easy for them to beat Princeton. They have the right to be happy. It’s just hard to watch when you’re on this side of it,” Gray said. “They’ve improved. Year in and year out, they’re competitive now. When we’re down, they’re going to get us.”