Back to basics: Hunt's hat trick carries Jasper

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Jasper's Tyler Hunt, left, celebrates with Brian Elizarraras during the first half of Thursday's game against Forest Park in Bretzville. Jasper defeated Forest Park 7-1 as Hunt scored a hat trick in the first 13 minutes of the game — the second quickest hat trick in Jasper boys soccer history. For more photos from the game, click here.


BRETZVILLE — A week into the NFL season and the pros have already unleashed their first round of creative and showstopping celebrations.

Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs sprung up and did a backflip after waltzing in for a short touchdown. Eric Ebron and members of the Indianapolis Colts grooved like characters of the popular Fortnite video game after the tight end snagged a deep ball from quarterback Andrew Luck. Many others danced, and danced and danced.

After netting his third goal in the first 13 minutes of the Jasper boys soccer team’s 7-1 rout of Forest Park in Bretzville on Thursday, Tyler Hunt’s celebration was anything but flashy. The senior forward jogged back toward midfield, quietly dishing out high-fives and receiving pats on his back from teammates.

He remained humble after the game and praised the boys around him on the field. Forget flamboyant performance art, he’d rather thank his dudes and move on to the next one.

“I’m not getting those opportunities without everybody around me,” said Hunt, who scored in the seventh, eighth and thirteenth minutes. “Everybody’s always making assists for me and making sure I get the ball when I need to get the ball, and I make sure they get the ball when they need to get the ball.”

His hat trick was the second-fastest in school history, behind only Elliott Prange’s 11-minute, three-goal flurry against Forest Park in 2015. The first goal came on a pass from Brian Elizarraras and the other two were unassisted.

As a team, Jasper (10-1-0) sprinted out to an early lead thanks to a blitz of a start from the Wildcats veteran offense. Early on, the Cats smashed hard, long passes on the ground and lobbed deep balls in the air that dropped in favorable positions for Jasper.

Forward Brian Elizarraras, midfielder Jackson Kabrick and midfielder and forward Khale Burger (Camden Knies assisted) each piled on a goal of their own as the Cats sliced through the Forest Park defense and ran up a commanding 6-0 lead in the final minutes of the first half.

“An A in the first half — no doubt about it,” Jasper coach Kyle Kendall graded his team after the game. “Second half, you know, a B, B-. But we came out and did what we needed to do to win the game, and that’s the most important thing. Once you get the lead we had at halftime, the second half is all about experience for that younger group and getting next year’s crew ready,” he added, referencing the non-starters who saw extended action.

Forest Park's Zach Wahl deflects a shot on goal during the second half of Thursday's game against Jasper in Bretzville. Wahl finished with 10 saves in the loss for the Rangers. For more photos from the game, click here.

Forest Park midfielder and forward Logan Englert admitted the Rangers (3-7-1) hit the pitch slow, but said he felt a sense of relief when he followed a deflected shot on goal from junior forward Hunter Helming and powered in the team’s only make of the night. That made the score 6-1 with 30 minutes left in the second half.

“Sigh of relief,” Englert reflected after the game about how he felt about the score. “We came out here, we talked about not coming out flat, and that’s what we did. That’s why we got down so bad so quick. Just to get that goal it was just like a sigh of relief and I feel like we kind of played smoother after that.”

Ranger Coach Mike Foerster gave his team a B-. He praised his starting goalkeeper, Zach Wahl, for blocking about 10 shots on goal and keeping the score lower than the double-digit blowout it could have been. He also spoke of how the team possessed the ball better in the second half.

“It wasn’t our best performance,” he said. “We didn’t put enough energy and effort in the offensive side. And the boys know this — when we play a good team … if we’re not possessing the ball, we’re chasing a lot and that’s how we get worn out. And that’s what leads to so many goals with a good team like Jasper.”

Backup forward Kristoffer Fladseth scored the final goal of the game on a long shot seventeen minutes into the second half. Ajay Sermersheim assisted on the play.

Forest Park plays next on Monday, Sept. 17, at South Spencer. Jasper has a tough slate ahead, starting with Class 2A No. 5 Heritage Hills in Lincoln City on Monday.

After posting a ten-game win streak following a season-opening loss to Evansville Memorial, Jasper has its sights set on 23 wins — a number they'd hit if they win out the regular season and claim the Class 3A State Championship at the end of October.

“It feels good just knowing that we worked hard for that (record),” Hunt said. “And we’re going to have to work just as hard to get these next wins.”

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