MAIZE SOUTH, Kan.—Maize South High School returned to the soccer field this year after graduating three seniors who were recognized on the all-state team and all-league first team in 2011.
Despite the absence of standout athletes Andy Cochran, Chase Minzie and Nick Richardson, it seems the Mavericks have retained their confidence. After starting the season 2-0, they will return to the McPherson tournament next week as defending champions.
Maize South finished last season 13-5 overall. Brian Hutton, who is starting his fourth year as Maize South head coach, has compiled a 29-23 career record.
In addition to the veteran coach, players who will help provide leadership this fall include juniors Jake Eskridge and Alex Green, who earned all-league second-team honors last year as a midfielder and forward, respectively.
Junior Yobani Delgado and senior Alex Bacon also will anchor the squad. They received all-league honorable mention as a midfielder and defender, respectively.
Other key players include senior Bryson Stricker; juniors Braden Stuart, Cooper McClure, Michael Gorges, Jathan Nguyen and Justinh Truong; and sophomore Bailey Benter. Freshmen expected to contribute are Nate Hendricks and Adrien Emanuel.
Maize South opened Aug. 28 with a 2-1 victory over Hutchinson and then beat Campus 6-2 on Aug. 30. Hutton said his players’ goals this year were to “make a presence in 5A soccer by being competitive in every game as well as improving in every game as the season goes on.”
The Mavericks concluded last season with a loss to Rose Hill, a state-tournament qualifier, in the Class 4-1A regional final. Their best finish occurred in 2010, when they advanced to state quarterfinals.