The Case for John Hardin Boys Soccer!
What team has been one of the most consistent winners in Boys soccer the last several years yet been unable to make that final push for the 5th Region Championship? If you said John Hardin you are correct sir! There probably hasn't been a better team with quality talent and abundant scoring that has been unable to crack that final game.
Their last 5th Region Championship appearance was 2014, but just like the previous season (2013) it ended in heartbreak with a one-goal loss to Central Hardin. In fact, the Bulldogs season has come to an abrupt ending the last four seasons to the Bruins. A pattern John Hardin and their head coach Derek Bell would like to change.
This will be a different team with seven seniors gone from the previous season which scored a total of 62-goals. The 2016 squad was a diverse one which could attack from so many different spots and score in many different ways. That is not to say that this year's team can't be as good.
There is no question the Bulldogs have scoring this season with All Area Forward Andrew Minnis returning. Minnis is coming off a 34-goal performance from last year (a season in which John Hardin piled up the points with 110 to be exact). The elite scorer has already gotten off to a red hot start with 10-goals after four games including 8 in the season opener at Marion County. He also is tied with the team lead in assist with 3. The senior is just one of several which will present a challenge to opponents.
Senior Goalkeeper Robert Swift is back from a defense which allowed only 38 (Swift allowed just 31) goals in 22-games in 2016. Senior Midfielders Ron Selbe and Tyler Caccamo return and will provide leadership and experience to a team ready to make the big push. Defender Wyatt Adkins will play a bigger role this season, also along with several others who will be asked to step in.
The bitter taste from last season's 5-4 overtime loss to Central Hardin in the 17th District Semi-Finals has been an unpleasant reminder what can happen in a single elimination situation. This season with so many teams replacing graduated talent, the Bulldogs would appear to have to early track to the Title. Still, early tests against North Hardin, Central Hardin and Elizabethtown will be a good measuring stick for a team which wants to take the next step and hoist the 5th Region Championship trophy for the first time since 2008.