By DAVID HUNTER
The Cannon Courier
The old saying goes defense wins championships at any level in all sport. It is no different for the 2017 CCHS boys' soccer team as they must rely on it to compete in a very tough district this season against powerhouses like Goodpasture, Merrol Hyde and Murfreesboro Central Magnet.
"We play tough schools, and that is who we measure ourselves against," CCHS second year head coach Jeran Tenpenny said last week during preseason practice. We want to get to where those programs are. We got to stay committed to our game plan, which is to be defensively minded, because it does not matter how many times we put the ball in the net, if we cannot stop the other team from putting it in the net more than we do."
Of course, in soccer, the last line of defense is the goalkeeper, and the Lions have a good one in senior Justin Hill. Hill has been a member of the squad all four years, and a difference makes in goal. They are looking for the same success out of him this season.
"He is a huge asset to us on the field," Tenpenny said of the returning Lions goalkeeper.
Including Hill, the Lions will have 10 seniors on team, but with various degrees of experience playing high school soccer. The other three seniors who are entering their fourth year with the Lions include Jake and Josh Walkup and Qwentin McMackins. At the same time, CCHS added some foreign players with some soccer playing experience, but not in a high school team format.
So, the returning seniors will use their knowledge to help the newcomers get accustomed to this level of soccer.
"We just need to play like you know how to play," Senior Josh Walkup said. "We got to play a lot of players that might not be very experienced playing on a team, but have experience playing soccer, which is good. It is nice to have people come in who have an idea on what they are doing, and it makes it easier in practice."
Hill added, "We just been telling them give your best, listen to the coaches, and come to every practice looking to get better."
With any sport on the high school level, each team around the state shoots for the same goal each preseason, which is to compete for a district title and go as far as they can during the postseason. For the Lions, it will be tough, but they feel they have the total team to do it this season.
"We are looking to help change the culture of soccer at CCHS," Tenpenny said. "Do we want our guys to have fun when they come out here? Obviously, but everybody has more fun when we win. So, we are looking to build a culture of winning. We want to get from just competing to winning those games we competed in last year. Soccer is not just another sport to do to have fun at CCHS, but it is a winning program that competes and win games and competes in the district."
The 2017 season kicks off at home March 13 against Warren County at 6 p.m.