• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS boys’ soccer team begins a rebuilding season

Over the last few years, the Woodford County High School boys’ soccer team has lost a lot of talented players to graduation, and while they still have some talent on the team that will try to win its third straight 41st District title this year, the Yellow Jackets will be in the process of rebuilding for the future in 2016. “This is starting my sixth year here, and I haven’t had one of these years yet, but I’m going to go ahead and say it now, it’s looking like a rebuilding year for us,” said WCHS head coach Fonyam Atanga. “We’ve really been losing very large classes, and not just in quantity, but in quality for a long time. I don’t know if we’ll be able to recover this quickly this year. Maybe these kids will prove me wrong. But, having done this for a long time, I can tell what the outlooks going to be like pretty early, and I think it’s going to be a rebuilding year.” Last year, Woodford finished 16-5-1 overall, 10-3 in the region and 5-0 in the district. They went on to win their second straight 41st District tournament with a 2-0 win over Franklin County. This year, according to Atanga, the district could be up in the air between the four teams – Woodford, Frankfort, Franklin County and Western Hills. In addition, things could be different in the region as well. “I have no idea. I haven’t seen anyone (team) play,” said Atanga of Woodford’s district opponents. “You know who’s in our district, so any of the three can be up for it.” As for the region, he said. “This year’s going to be interesting, As much as I’m sitting here crying about it being a rebuilding year for us, I think, just based on what I saw at Bluegrass State Games, things are going to be up in the air in the region this year. “A lot of the teams look like they just lost too much. And, it’s not just us. So, just like the district, there could be a bit of a surprise because, I think, to be honest, the team that I feel like is returning a really, really strong squad is Madison Central. I’d be surprised if they weren’t in the region finals.” On this year’s team, players that will see time at forward will be seniors Maclain Evans and Glen Fister; juniors Drew Blaydes, Avery Wiseman, Xaylen Lanier and Lane More; and sophomore Brandon Cromwell. Players that will see time in the midfield are senior Trevor Sparks, juniors Chris Jackson and Noah Hayes, and sophomore Gavin Nicholson. On defense, Atanga will use a combination of seniors Trevor White, Alex Karbach, Nathan Sandman, and Jose Caloca; and juniors Jacob Christian and Marcus Watson, who might get some time at forward as well. In goal to start the season is senior George Stanley, with senior Zach Zeefe backing him up. As to what Woodford fans can expect to see when they come out and watch the 2016 Yellow Jackets this season, Atanga won’t give away his entire strategy, but expect to see what Woodford has been good at in previous years – tough defense and attack hard on offense. “I think (fans will) see a team that’s similar in a lot of ways to teams of the previous years,” said Atanag. “But, I think they’ll also see a team that’s going to require some time to grow.”

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