By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone’s 2020 soccer season kicked off with a promising start before the coronavirus pandemic flagged the season with a red card, and a handful of seniors were instrumental in what coach Steve Sessis described as his best chemistry in 22 years.
Meanwhile, David Crockett’s soccer team was limited to one senior in 2020.
The Boone roster, anchored by seven seniors, offered a combination of competiveness and unselfishness that was unmistakable during a 2-0 start to the season. The Trailblazers won the first two games by a combined score of 11-0 against Volunteer (6-0) and Cocke County (5-0). Eager to share the wealth, five different ‘Blazers scored in each victory.
“There was this chemistry with the 2020 boys soccer team that you couldn’t quantify, but you could sense,” Sessis said. “They were a team of brothers from day one. The older boys mentored the younger players. There was an instinctiveness in knowing what your teammate was going to do and a sense of anticipation you see in teams that have played together for years and yet these young men in many cases were new to the team.
“Guys like Branden Logan, who were not accustomed to being in charge, were suddenly stepping up and running the team without argument because everyone recognized he was good at it. Stalwarts on the defense like Sam Robbins and Emidlio Morales played with more passion because they recognized the difference in team intensity. Midfielders Jesus Gongora and Isai Barradas were shutting down the opposing offense and getting the ball forward to the Gray brothers, Ty and Cade.”
The potential of the 2020 ‘Blazers will cause Sessis to ponder periodically for some time.
“Honestly, these guys knew we had something special going on which we had never had before,” he said. “There was this electricity running through the team that they were the real deal and could play with anyone. There were 11 real soccer players on the field with good backup players in each position. To have had such an opportunity to excel and to have it shut down at the end of the first week of regular season was tough on everyone.
“We will always wonder about what could have been, but in my mind this was the best team, and I emphasize the word team, that Boone has ever had in its 22 years of playing soccer.”
David Crockett senior Nate Holder was a newcomer who’d previously wrestled for the Pioneers.
“Nate didn’t play as a sophomore or junior due to wrestling, but I was able to talk him into playing his senior year,” coach Chris Kudera said. “He made an instant impact on the team by filling in at right back for the few games we played this spring. Nate’s willingness to learn and compete were his strong suit, and I never had to ask for more effort from him. I hate his senior season was cut short, but I know he will push forward with life’s next challenge.”