Talent, not egos, made WC a success

Published 9:09 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

A team that genuinely enjoys playing together without egos usually does well.

The Warren Central boys’ soccer team went 14-4-1 this season and 3-1 in its division because of the balanced talent and camaraderie of the team. When the Vikings stepped on the field, they felt like they were just as good as their opponent.

“We had a very good season. We had four games we didn’t play but we could’ve very easily won those games. It’s probably one of the best records we’ve had in a while and that was one of my goals,” Warren Central coach Greg Head said.

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The Vikings’ losses all came against schools with turf fields in Northwest Rankin, twice to Tupelo — in a regular-season match at Northwest Rankin, and then in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs — and Clinton.

Despite winning 14 games, Head said the Vikings missed other goals, the main ones being a division championship and getting a playoff win.

A lot of times, Head said, the Vikings were outplayed by teams that had select players who play the game year around.

“I had only one guy on my team who played select soccer, whereas a lot of teams we played had numerous players. A lot of times we were outskilled so we had to play a lot smarter and work hard to compete with them,” Head said.

Throughout the season, Head preached that the team isn’t good when they play as individuals, but when they play together and everyone is doing well, it leads to a better performance.

The leadership of Warren Central’s eight seniors — Brian McHan, Carlos Jesser, Theo Stang, Nick Wright, Elliot Stockett, Max Wamsley, Nathan Madsen and John Austin Burris — also helped in the team’s success.

WC gave up 17 goals to its 78 scored and had 11 shutouts. Opponents only had 37 shots on goal, an average of about two per game.

“We had good defense and we outscored our opponents by a lot of goals. We had a lot of people have outstanding years,” Head said.

As a team, the Vikings averaged four goals and almost three assists a game on 352 total shots. Stang led the team in goals with 17 on 49 shots. Braylen Green followed with 15 goals on 45 shots and Hunt Holdiness rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 goals on 28 shots.

“At midfield you had Nathan Madsen that did really well at center-mid and Hunt Holdiness at center-mid, they don’t get a lot of attention because they don’t do a lot of the scoring, they feed the ball up to someone to score,” Head said.

On the other side of the ball, Burris and Stockett anchored Warren Central’s defense. Nick Wright’s flexibility helped the team when facing bigger defensive opponents.

“When they would get the ball close to the goal like on a corner kick, they would jump right on top of us and head the ball in,” Head said. “Sometimes we had to use Nick back on defense.”