- Alma School District
Outlaw, Airedales nab win- 3/10/2021
By Kevin Taylor
Ashton Outlaw didn't yet know it yet but he was about to fall in love, and not all fifth-graders can say they know when it happens.
But Ashton can.
One windy afternoon in the spring of 2013, he struck a soccer ball. Young Ashton's heart melted.
It was love at first kick.
"As soon as I had the ball at my feet, everything just sort of came natural," Outlaw said. "It felt like I had been playing soccer all of my life."
Eight years later, having learned soccer skills from his first coach, Shawn Adair, Ashton Outlaw is finishing his senior year as one of Alma coach Cory Sturdivant's go-to senior players.
The scrappy, well-spoken Outlaw has played two positions for Sturdivant: left-wing and striker.
"It's been a blessing," Outlaw said. "I've loved playing under coach Sturdy. He's brought me a long way since my freshman year."
Outlaw put Alma on the board Tuesday night, then celebrated with longtime soccer teammate Derick Johnson following the team’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Dardanelle.
"This program means a lot to me," Outlaw said. "I've played soccer since I was halfway through the fifth grade. I fell in love with this sport, so it means a lot to be the first group to play all four years.
"This program has come a long way since the very beginning."
“We had some silly mistakes that need to be fixed, but I told them there’s one thing I would never do is fault their effort,” Sturdivant said following Tuesday’s victory. “They gave a hundred percent effort. Johnathan Pulido (keeper) had one of the greatest saves I’ve ever seen, and Demitrio (Cerda) … that dude brings a whole new attack down the left side.”
Before scoring at the 36:38 mark of the first half, the Airedales had been unable to light the lamp until Outlaw’s first goal.
"It brings a lot of pride to be able to play a sport for a school," Outlaw said. "Coming out here and playing with every single player, that's like family to me.
'Representing the school anyway I can brings honor to me — I feel a lot of pride in it."
Johnson set up Eric Dover’s game-winner with a perfectly-placed pass at the 2:56 mark of the second half. Ten minutes later, Outlaw and his teammates were posing for post-game pics.
"We have a lot of chemistry, I feel like," Outlaw said. "Everybody out here has their own set of skills. Once we figure out how to glue all that together, and find the pieces to the puzzle, it will become successful."
Dardanelle 2, Alma 1
GIRLS — The Lady Airedales battled before falling late to Dardanelle, 2-1. The Lady Sand Lizards took a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into Tuesday’s non-conference clash before Alma tied the match at 1 on Olivia Reed’s free-kick at the 17:47 mark of the first half.
Dardanelle went ahead for good at the 32:96 mark of the second half.
Both Alma squads resume 5A-West play Friday against Vilonia.