It took 73 minutes of intense action, but Fort Dodge junior Titus Aba finally broke free and made the most of his opportunity here on Monday.
Aba, off a perfectly-timed pass from Spencer Barber, went low and scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory for the Dodgers over Des Moines Roosevelt.
With the win, Fort Dodge improved to 5-6 overall on the season - one more victory than they had the last two years combined.
"That Ames game (a 2-0 loss last Friday) showed our guys that they can play with some of the top teams in the state," FDSH head coach Pablo Rodriguez said. "I think this was a product of that game. We finally broke free and beat a very strong Des Moines school."
The Roughriders (7-6) had won four of their last six, but are now on a two-match losing streak after suffering a defeat at the hands of No. 11 (Class 3A) Marshalltown last Friday.
Fort Dodge and Roosevelt each had seven shots on goal, but the majority of the ones for the Dodgers were strong scoring opportunities.
"We just need to finish those plays a little better," Rodriguez said. "We easily could have been up a couple of goals (after the first half), but that is the way the ball bounces.
"I thought the kids did a great job of playing smart and working together, especially on defense."
Parker Huebsch, Alex Jackson and Barber all had scoring opportunities in the opening 40 minutes, but were denied.
"These kids are starting to believe in themselves and play like the way I thought they could," Rodriguez said. "Spencer, for just a sophomore, is going to be an excellent leader for us down the road."
After the Aba goal, the Dodgers were not able to relax, as Roosevelt marched down and had an excellent scoring chance when Luke Bascom fired off a shot that Ethan Schwendemann saved.
Schwendemann, another 10th-grader, made seven stops on the night and earned his third shutout of the year.
"Ethan is just a pillar back there," Rodriguez said. "We all have confidence he will stop just about anything that comes near him, and he showed that again (Monday)."
Fort Dodge has now won two of its last three and will play host to eighth-ranked Dowling Catholic tonight for Senior Night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have two more games this week, hosting No. 7 Ankeny on Thursday before facing Des Moines North Friday on the road. After that, Fort Dodge welcomes Boone (8-5) for a 3A substate opener next Monday.