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Becoming the first high school boys’ soccer team from the county will be no easy task, but one the Wildcats are up for as the season fast approaches.
Following in the footsteps of the girls’ soccer team — which started last fall with junior varsity and continous this season with varsity — the boys will field a high school squad for the first time at Henry County High School. Each of these players are diving head first into varsity action, and are making history along the way.
“It’s great to be starting a program for the first time, the guys are excited but they know there will be hurdles,” said Jay Dunavin, who helped start the team and was recently named the head coach. “First off, we want to make a name for ourselves and get people in the county excited about soccer. The boys on this team take pride in the fact that they are the first.”
On the first day of practice, the players were a bit rusty, Dunavin said. But since that time, they have blossomed into a typical high school team with a season just over the horizon. At first, they could not make it very long without taking a needed break, Dunavin said. Now he has to force them off the field to drink some water.
“We’ve progressed quite a bit since that first day. A lot of the guys had played before, but it was tough getting back in the grove of things. We had to knock that rust off.”
Individually, the Henry boys’ team has some talented players, led by six seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and one freshman to form the first soccer squad in school history.
John Harp will be the team captain; Timmy Ashby, who brings an aggressive, go-get-the-ball mentality to the net, will be the team’s keeper; and Josh Clark and Paul Leet will bring the most offensive power as scoring threats. All players are important though, Dunavain points out.
The Wildcats got a small taste of what they will be facing this year when they scrimmaged at Gallatin County — another new soccer team — last Thursday and came away with a 3-0 win. Henry’s first official contest will be at Waggener High School Aug. 21.
“I’m very proud of the guys for going out and starting a team,” Dunavin said. “Everything we were able to do was based on these guys wanting a team and going out and getting it.”