Veteran Vikings aim higher

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

Warren Central has gone from the hunter to the hunted.

After winning a Region 4-6A championship last season and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, the Vikings are now the team to beat in the region chase.

With talent like goalkeeper G-mal “Superman” Brinnon and Erik Chappell, expectations are high for a reason.

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And the Vikings won’t settle for anything short of a region championship and a long playoff run.

This season has even more special meaning for Warren Central coach Greg Head.

“We’ve made the playoffs three years in a row and we plan on making it four,” Head said. “When I first started here, these seniors were all eighth-graders and were about four feet tall. So it means a lot to me that we do well. We’re setting our goals higher. But we’ve got our work cut out for us. Our district is going to be tough.”

Helping matters is the return of leading scorer Chappell, who has led the county in scoring for the past three seasons. A gifted forward with great speed and a sweet shot with 18 goals and five assists, he made second-team all-state last season in Class 6A.

But it won’t be a one-man show despite losing senior defender Austin Hopkins and exchange student standouts Tim Hoeptner, Jakob Pettersson and Robert Langeland to graduation.

“This year, we have a better team than last year,” Chappell said. “Most of the people that are younger aren’t young anymore. Everyone has developed their skill and are a lot better players than last year.”

German exchange student Bastien Koelman, Austin Greer and Tre Wilson will man the midfield.

Anchoring the defense will be Matt Waddle, who will bring strength and size to the backline after playing upfront (seven goals last season). Ethan Massie, Jade Pollack and Chris McRaney will man the backline with Waddle.

“We’ve had to move him back to defense because he brings some strength and height to our defensive line,” Head said.

Behind them will be one of the state’s best keepers, Brinnon. He recorded 50 saves and had 11 shutouts last year.