Boys Junior Varsity Soccer, Boys Varsity Soccer · Roller Coaster Season For Boys Soccer Ends On High

The season started in July but the probability of a full season was low.  The team was happy to be on the pitch after being cooped up for 4 months due to the pandemic.  Coach Durrett wasn’t sure what to expect when he showed up for the first practice.  There was a lot of conditioning that needed to be done along with getting ball touches.  With all of the tedious work being done, the attitudes were still high.  Seniors were taking the lead and the young team of mostly Freshmen and Sophomores worked hard in harmony.  When the first game rolled around in August against Decatur at Kuntz Stadium with no fans, there was a relief feeling in the air like, “We did it!”  But with a defense starting two Juniors, a Sophomore and a Freshman with a Sophomore goalkeeper, there was also a nervous glaze in the eyes of the players.  Five minutes into the game, Herron found themselves down 1-0.  Halftime couldn’t come fast enough to settle the team down.  The Achaeans played a great 2nd half but still lost 2-1.  It was a game everyone came away from with a positive vibe.

COVID Scare and the injury bug hit before the 2nd game.  With three starters and one key bench player missing the next three weeks, the team hit a low going 0-4-0 and only scoring 2 goals.  When times looked the worst, the team pulled together over Labor Day Weekend with the return of Senior, Jaden House.  Coach Durrett would shake up the lineup and win 2 of the next 3 games before the City Tournament.  Herron would win the first round game against Purdue Poly 3-0.  This was the first time Herron won a City Tournament game under Durrett’s time at the school.  Round 2 vs Covenant Christian ended in a 0-2 defeat but confidence was on the upward tic of the roller coaster.

Herron would draw the #7 ranked Speedway Spark Plugs in the Sectional Tournament.  The Achaeans came together as a team that Monday evening.  As each minute ticked away, tension grew in the stands and on the sidelines.  Everyone rooting for Herron was wondering if they hold this together.  Speedway was in shock and frustrated that they weren’t blowing the Achaeans away.  House would have the lone goal from a penalty kick to tie the score midway through the 2nd half.  The game would go into overtime at 1-1.  The score remained knotted after two overtime periods.  Onto the best of five kicks from the mark.  Herron would send Senior Mason Litvan, Freshman Jack Wagner, Senior Jaden House, Senior Kyle Breen and Junior Jahir Mancia out to midfield.  WAIT!!!  Did I just read that correctly?  The Achaeans are sending a Freshman out there.  Well, the coaching staff and the captains of the team made the right call because the first 4 PK takers for Herron would score while Sophomore goalie Ethan Goodwin would save two kicks to seal the victory.

Herron would play Washington in Round two and win 3-1 and advance to the finals against Bishop Chatard.  The season would end there for the Achaeans on that Saturday night but the future looks bright heading into next season.

Team Captain Jaden House would play in 10 games his senior season and lead the team with 23 points (10 G, 3 A).  He lettered all 4 years for Herron and was the leader in goals scored his junior and senior years.  He helped the Achaeans win Sectional Titles his freshman and sophomore year.  He would be nominated for All-District Team, named Top Team Player and Academic All-State his senior year.

Freshman Jack Wagner would start 16 games and come in 2nd in total points for the team with 13 (5 G, 3 A).  Pretty impressive year since he started as a left outside defender at the beginning of the year and then moved to the mid field in the middle of the year.

Junior Jahir Mancia was a total team player by switching from forward / midfielder to center back for most of the season.  He would still end the year with 12 points (2 G, 8 A).

Other athletes that received the Academic All-State Award were Kyle Breen, Deigo Wong, Taona Chigudu, Gabe Pawlowski, and Maxwell Schneider

Junior Varsity would end the season with a record of 2-4-0.  If you dig deeper, it was a much better year.  Against Bishop Chatard and Heritage Christian, Herron would go into the half tied in both games.  With varsity riddled with injuries, we had to pull 3 JV players from the games so they were available to play in the varsity games.  Without subs in the 2nd half, we would give up goals in both games but we grew as a team and discovered how tough we can be when pushed.  Joseph Grimes and Miles Cumbay were regulars on the field for varsity while Freshmen Noah Gentry, Andrew Blaudow, Cash Pasley, Elliott Qi and Daniel Lynch also saw significant time during the middle of the season.  Because of these individuals, our 2021 season looks bright.