GATES MILLS, Oh. — Wheeling Park might be trying to begin the 2022 soccer season 3-0 Friday evening when coach Chris Daugherty’s Patriots journey to Gilmour Academy for a battle with a troublesome Villa Angela-St. Joseph squad, which is sitting at 2-1 on the season however hasn’t allowed a degree since a season-opening loss.
Daugherty’s Red, White and Blue opened the season with a victory over St. Clairsville earlier than dropping Pittsburgh metropolis college Brashear, 42-12, final week at Wheeling Island Stadium. Meanwhile, coach Jeff Rotsky’s Vikings opened with a 34-3 defeat by the hands of 2021 Division III state finalist Badin earlier than outscoring their final two opponents by a mixed 99-0 margin. Last week was a 49-0 conquer Youngstown East.
VASJ has moved as much as Division III this season as nicely and entered the marketing campaign with a youthful squad consisting of solely eight seniors, however a whopping 40 sophomores on the roster.
The Vikings have a pair of high-quality operating backs together with sophomore Lamar “Bo” Jackson, who already has affords from Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Kentucky. He is joined within the backfield by junior Amani Powell. Rotsky has a pair of quarterbacks that might see motion in senior Kayin Cooper or sophomore Kylan Steuball with junior Andre Spinks the highest receiving menace.
Defensive lineman Domnic Kinks can also be thought of a Division I prospect for VASJ.
“They are a superb, well-coached soccer workforce that made the Ohio playoffs a season in the past and count on to be again there once more this 12 months,” Daugherty mentioned. “I believe it’ll be very fascinating to see how we match-up towards them. They have an important operating again and like to run the soccer. He is a Division I recruit, and he actually appears the half, despite the fact that he’s solely a sophomore.
“We know they’ll run a variety of energy with outdoors zones and we’re going to must be bodily with them, not just a bit, however for a very long time, to achieve success.”
The Patriots had been truly out-gained by the Bulls every week in the past however a big-play offense and a defensive effort that included a pair of interceptions and two safeties made the distinction. Park additionally had a kickoff return for a landing on the evening.
Quarterback Brett Phillips leads the offensive assault and has hit a powerful 24 of 37 passes for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns via two video games and added 41 yards and a rating on the bottom final week. Sophomore speedster Jerrae Hawkins has 9 catches for 170 yards and three scores, two of these coming final week from 15 and 37 yards away.
Will James is one other receiving menace with 5 grabs for 43 yards and a rating. Zac Lydick leads the bottom assault with 22 totes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots had been truly compelled to punt on their preliminary two possessions final week earlier than rattling off touchdowns the next 5 instances they touched the soccer.
“We have big-play capabilities from so many various children,” Daugherty talked about. “It is only a matter of determining how groups are going to play us week-in and week-out. It would possibly take us some time to determine issues out some weeks, however we really feel like there are such a lot of completely different children we are able to flip to when we have to make an enormous play.”
Through two video games Wheeling Park has outscored its opponents by an 84-26 margin.
“I actually cannot say sufficient about our protection proper now,” Daugherty added. “We knew we had been dropping some good linebackers and a security, and I actually wasn’t constructive what we had been going to seem like on that facet of the ball coming in. But I’m so pleased about the place we’re proper now, particularly our capacity to cease the run the primary two weeks.
“But there isn’t a query we might be examined extra this week than we had been the primary two. It is the primary time we’ve got needed to journey this 12 months, and that is going to be one of the best workforce we’ve got performed to this point. They are quick and bodily, and they need to be capable to match our velocity. We will simply must see the way it performs out, it might be one thing that makes us a a lot better soccer workforce relying on how issues play out.”