The 2018 sports season is less than a week away for the black and gold Dark Horses of Clinton High. With each team eager to take on the new year we’ll take a look at the expectations this upcoming season for the men’s soccer team.
Coming off of an impressive (20-6) season and deep trip into the playoffs in 2017, the level of focus by the Horses during this off-season has been impeccable. And, they’ve had no storage of players come out this summer to show it. Going into his 20th season, head coach Brad Spell say his team has been committed.
“Players have been really committed in the summer workouts. Running and lifting weights, 51 players tried out to make a spot on the rosters for JV and Varsity,” Spell said.
Of those 51 players, this year means something extra special for a handful of them and those players are the 12 seniors that will play in their final season as Dark Horses. Peter Darden, Luis Guerara, Thomas Hernandez, Lukas Jerez, Connor King, Ceaser Meza, Manuel Murrillo, Parker Norris, Jared Stephenson, Reid Taylor, Asthon Tyndal and Camden Thompson are the names of those seniors. With their final season fast approaching Norris shared his thoughts on their final year.
“This is our last year playing together so of course we’re aiming to win states. We’ve been at this for a long time and we want something to show for it, so we don’t plan on coming up with anything short of going all the way,” Norris said.
“Also, just as important to us as our end goal is playing and working hard for each other and especially for the people around us that helped get us here,” Norris continued. “If it wasn’t for the time and support our parents, families and coaches put into us none of this would be possible.
“So, we’re doing this for them just as much as we’re doing it for ourselves and we are going to go out there to show them and everyone else what we’re made of this year,” he concluded.
They’ll have the continued supports for the soccer staff as assistant coaches Mitchell Brewington, Adam Smith and Kenan Lanier return to lend their aid. They will need it as their schedule won’t allow them to achieve their goal easily as they face the likes of Richlands and Wallace-Rose Hill. Along with the 2A State Championship Runner-ups the East Duplin Panthers, who they’ll face twice.
While every team wants a title at the end of the year, Spell pointed out in his closing words that they are playing for more than just hardware.
“We are playing for our community, school, family, fans and our teammates, giving perfect effort,” Spell said.
Which goes hand-n-hand with their motto this year of “You will never play a perfect match but can always give perfect effort”. They’ll have an opportunity to put their motto to the test on Saturday when they host the First Annual Sampson County Jamboree before traveling to face Whiteville on Wednesday, Aug. 15.