QUINCY -- Blake Herman figures quite a few people will take note of what happened Wednesday night at Flinn Stadium.
Many in this soccer-crazed community already have.
With a raucous crowd of John Wood Community College students and a throng of family and friends on hand, the rebirth of the JWCC men's soccer team got off to a better-than-could-be-scripted start as Herman scored in the 65th minute to power the Trail Blazers to a 2-0 victory over St. Charles (Mo.) Community College.
"For us to come out and get a win early and make a statement in this conference, I know everyone is going to see it," said Herman, a Quincy High School alumnus having a rebirth of his own after four years away from the game. "I know they're all going to be buzzing. The town is going to be buzzing.
"We proved a lot tonight. We have a lot more to prove, too."
The Trail Blazers proved they will be competitive.
"We played at the highest level of intensity that we've had in the preseason or our two scrimmages," JWCC coach Bob Cowman said. "Some people stepped up in a huge way."
No one knew if that would be the case.
Launched last October when the school announced it would be adding three sports for the 2018-19 school year, the JWCC men's program built a roster around a core group of local products and several foreign-born players that spent the previous 21 days figuring out how to play together.
In the last week, Cowman and his staff adjusted the formation the Trail Blazers used to simplify the attack.
"It's easier to coach and it's easier for them to execute without being frustrated," Cowman said. "We don't have time to be frustrated."
It frustrated the Cougars.
JWCC outshot St. Charles 8-5 in the first half, taking advantage of counterattacks and long balls played overtop the defense. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers made only one miscue defensively, allowing a ball to bounce free in the closing seconds.
The Cougars' Imad Chatouane touched it past Trail Blazers keeper Eric Lubbert, but the shot came a split second after the horn sounded and the center official waved off the goal. While arguing the call, a St. Charles player received a red card and was ejected, forcing the Cougars to play the second half a man down.
That's when the Trail Blazers took advantage.
Stymied on their first six shots of the half, the Trail Blazers jumped on a ball played forward from the midfield and chipped to Herman by freshman forward Simon Surin. Herman turned and buried a shot for a 1-0 lead.
"I told (JWCC teammate) Jay Goodwin before the game I was going to score. He goes, 'Show me,'" Herman said. "He came off the bench and pushed me a little bit. He said, 'You told me.'"
The Trail Blazers finished off the victory as Surin scored with 1:16 to play.
"We gave (St. Charles) everything and more," Cowman said. "That was a quality game against a quality team and an established program."