ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen coach Jay Raynor will have plenty of experienced senior leadership to rely on this season on the pitch, as the Eagles look to contend for a Four County Conference Class 2-A title and a state playoff berth.
Gone from last year’s squad are graduates Cam West, Hastin McGill, Will Cole and last season’s co-captain, Joel Cromartie. But 11 rising seniors will give Raynor a lot of experience and depth.
Leading the way may be the Eagles’ defense, headed by rising senior netminder Matthew Massengill. In front of him on defense will be rising seniors Ryan Baxley (last season’s co-captain), Isaac Monroe, Jake Mazur and Brandon Monroe.
Giving the Eagles a scoring punch will be rising senior Colby Hester and rising junior Alex Felder.
Among the other returning players for their senior season include Wayde Owen, Logan Baxley and Tyler Polk.
The Eagles will open their season on Tuesday with a non-conference match on the road at East Columbus. They will open conference play Aug. 8 by hosting Midway.
First-year head coach Brennan Brown will be looking to rebuild a Knights soccer program that has sputtered under a carousel of coaches over the past few seasons.
But Brown takes over a team that graduated its top — and sometimes only — scorer from last season in Clay Allen.
He will, however, have a number of returning players — including rising seniors Michael Pastore and Colby McLean; along with Seth Britt, Ray Jones, Chandler Lennon, Ian Sykes, Caleb Johnson, Victor Jacome, Christian Diego and Garrett Patterson.
Brown will have the services of the team’s starting netminder from last season in Anthony Sebastian. But overall, the Knights will spend the preseason competing for positions across the pitch.
West Bladen opens its non-conference schedule on Monday with a home match against West Columbus. They will open their Four County Conference schedule on Aug. 8 by hosting Union.