By Mark Carpenter and Brian Seaman
Photos By Mark Carpenter
With the addition of 11 freshmen to the Peebles High School Varsity Boys Soccer team, Coach Brian Seaman has his troops ready to play a vastly increased game pace.
“Last season Peebles had 13 players when they were at full strength, and most games played with 12 or even 11 players,” says Seaman. “My boys were usually exhausted by the 60-minute mark, and were trying to catch their breath and hold on during most games. Now we have 21 players on the roster, many with only one or two years of experience, but several new players are very talented and will be starting this year.”
Last year was not necessarily a transition year for the Indians, but they just didn’t have the depth to keep up with many teams and ended 2015 with a 4-11-1 record. Several of the losses were by one goal and the lack of available substitutes worked against the squad. Lack of substitutes should not be an issue this year.
“I intend for my young men to work at a fast pace, sub my deep bench liberally, and keep the quick pace going,” said Coach Seaman. “Every player on this team will see time every game. It may not be a lot of minutes, but they will see valuable playing time, and gain that needed experience that will serve them and the team for years to come.”
The Indians will deal with the losses of striker Brennan Sims, keeper Jacob Vaughn, and mid-fielder Brandon Shannon, all of whom graduated last spring. Sims scored 24 goals last year, the fourth most in a single season in school history. Vaughn was very aggressive and experienced and Shannon’s enthusiasm and knowledge will be tough to replace.
This year the lone senior on the team will be defender Logan Gordley, who will anchor the defense, but returning with him are 2015 starters: juniors Tanner Schmitz, Kalub Smith, Wade Shiveley, Conner Browning, George Werner and keeper Trenton Wheeler. Wheeler has the athleticism, size, and aggressiveness to be one of the league’s premier keepers, and junior Andrew Shannon will be on the field at key times.
Freshmen Alex Camp and Weston Browning are immediately ready to start at the high school level and will step in the holes left by the three graduates. Also new to the team this year are sophomores Logan Jackson and Jordan Syroney, plus freshmen Zarik Davis, Ryan Wesley, Jordan Cameron, Rylan Phipps, Luke Rigdon, Logan Evans, Cory Myers, and Donny Shoemaker.
Losing Sims and another non-returning striker leaves a huge scoring hole to fill for Coach Seaman.
“Juniors Kalub Smith and Wade Shively, and freshmen Weston Browning and Alex Camp will need to learn to find the back of the net with the ball,” says Seaman. “Tanner Schmitz will be the field general in the mid-field, directing all his teammates. Logan Gordley and Conner Browning will need to be a fantastic defensive duo.”
As far as the Southern Hills Athletic Conference is concerned, Seaman feels that Peebles will be in a much better position to compete at the upper levels of conference play.
“I have no thoughts of steamrolling teams in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, but I do expect my team to be more competitive against Lynchburg and the other top SHAC squads. Peebles played at extremely high levels for several years, and had several first team All-State players. Now we are ready to relaunch with the mix of veterans showing the 11 freshmen how to play high school soccer.”
If half of the freshmen can quickly adapt to the speed high school players move at, this team will certainly have a much better record than last year.”