Young Tigers off to fast start

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Going for the goal: Chilton County senior Zach McCraney (21) pushes the ball down the field on Tuesday against Tallassee.

Chilton County’s soccer team lost Tuesday to Tallassee, 3-1, but the Tigers already have as many wins this season as they did in 2010.

CCHS defeated Shades Mountain Christian, 2-1, on Feb. 15 in its season opener. The win was crucial for a young team in search of confidence and an identity after losing several key players off last year’s squad, including leading scorer Noe Chavez.

“We needed that win, and they fought for it,” coach Dan Velasquez said.

Though lacking star power, the Tigers will lean on the experience of seniors John Deason, Dolman Lopez and Zach McCraney.

Replacing Casey Brand at goalie this season will be both Blake Wyatt, a junior, and Nate Durrah, a freshman.

The goalkeeping was solid in the win over Shades Mountain and the loss to Tallassee.

Tallassee didn’t score in the second half, as Wyatt recorded 12 saves.

CCHS’s Jorge Gomez scored the first goal of the evening, but Tallassee responded with two quick goals—and Chilton dug itself an even deeper hole with an own goal.

“They ran out of gas in the second half, but they played hard,” Velasquez said.

McCraney scored the first goal of the evening against Shades Moutnain, on a penalty kick, and McCraney then assisted on what would turn out to be the game winner, off the foot of sophomore Johnny Garcia.

Velasquez said another team strength should be an improved bench. CCHS is a deep team with 20 players on the roster.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “We’re trying to find the people who can come in for us.

“They’re going after it. They don’t know their limitations. Sometimes, youth is good for that.”