The Hobbton Wildcats soccer team had a great run that ended just short of their goal, ousted in the fourth round of the state soccer championships by Franklin Academy Saturday. The historic season ended at 19-5-2.
“We started the season with a loss on what was probably one of the hottest days of my coaching and playing career. The boys got set and from there we had a really good run,” Wildcat coach Jonathan Jacobs commented. “We played well and changed some things after that first game which, I think, changed our season around for the good. We played a couple of hard teams and lost a couple of close games during the season. But, overall I thought we had a fantastic season.”
Jacobs said the team “really ground and pushed” to make the run for a state championship this year. The No. 5-seeded Wildcats fell to top-seed Franklin Academy at Wake Forest, 3-1, ending their run in the 1A Men’s Soccer Championships.
“However, I think if we had played as well as we have played all season, the game would have been a whole lot different,” Jacobs said. “I think that was probably the worst we have played all season. We came out a little flat and weren’t really in to it. But when you get to the playoffs, it’s the team with the fewest mistakes that’s going to keep going forward. We just made too many mistakes and we couldn’t catch up.”
“Again, I thought we had a fantastic season,” Jacobs said of the 2017 campaign, during which Hobbton was an unblemished 15-0 in conference play. “I’m very proud of everybody on the team, not just the seniors. Some of our freshmen stepped up in big ways. Even the people on the bench who didn’t get a lot of playing time cheered us on. I’m proud of the boys.”
He had praise for four of his 10 seniors who played for him all four years of their high school careers.
“Their freshman year was my first year coaching, and I’m glad they took this road with me,” the coach said. “It’s been bumpy, it’s been long but they have stayed in there and been right beside me the whole way. It’s been an honor and fun to watch them grow. It started with them to get this program going in the right direction.”
Jacobs specifically mentioned Larry Favela, Jair Sanchez, Irvin Castillo and Andres Escalera. Despite the loss of senior talent, Jacobs is optimistic about 2018.
“We have some middle school kids I hope can come in and make an impact. We are losing a good group of seniors and hopefully we can fill those spots,” he said. “There even may be some that didn’t try out this year that can see the program is in the right direction and want to jump on that train. Let’s see where it takes us.”