As an attentive Tony Lougee watched his club zip effortlessly through a series of dull but necessary soccer drills — on the second day of preseason training camp — Mechanicsburg’s veteran skipper talked about his Wildcats getting off to a good start.
The reason? His senior-heavy group would be opening against a potentially toxic collection of opponents — Camp Hill, Carlisle, Hershey, Lower Dauphin and Gettysburg.
So far, so good.
Standing a perfect 6-0 after clocking Waynesboro 6-0 on Monday night, the Wildcats have displayed an explosive attack while a rebuilt D-backfield led by Alex Holbert, Josh Logan and converted forward Matt Warren continues to jell in front of sophomore keeper Erik Hanson.
Holding mid/XBox impressario Sean Swidersky also has played well.
“You can’t really just count on that,” said Lougee, whose club has rolled up 22 goals while conceding just two. “The guys have to play the complete team game.
“They’re aware we have some firepower, but they understand that’s secondary to playing well together and making sure we limit other teams chances.”
“Our main focus is defense, we don’t like to let up goals,” said senior winger Austin Martz. “It doesn’t matter if we win a game 8-0 or 1-0. If we get that shutout, that’s what’s really important.”
While Lougee’s Wildcats have authored four shutouts thus far, they’re also averaging nearly four finishes per outing. Martz already has racked up nine scores, while David Strausbaugh, Alex Panuccio and midfield facilitator Matt Steele have combined for 10 more goals.
Holbert, Logan and Warren, who striped a 45-yard blast in Saturday’s 5-0 thumping of Gettysburg, also have found their way into Mechanicsburg’s scorebook.
“We’ve still got to work on it, there’s still a lot of things we need to do,” said Lougee, whose Wildcats finished third in the 2009 District 3-AAA playoffs and reached states. “We need to improve on every facet of the game, but everybody does at this time of the year.”
A terrific start helps.
NO SLIDE TACKLES HERE
Moments after tacking on an extra point that gave Mechanicsburg’s footballers a 28-25 lead Friday night at Gettysburg — with just seven seconds to play — Martz was back on the field to handle the ensuing kickoff.
His orders? Squib it.
Unfortunately for the 5-8, 135-pound senior, Gettysburg blur D.J. Johnson (6-0, 185) snared Martz’s boot and promptly unleashed a series of moves that had the Wildcats grabbing at air. All of the Wildcats but Martz, who watched the action unfold while playing a free safety role.
“As soon as I saw him fake one way and turn to the outside — I know Bryton [Barr] dove and missed a tackle — he had our entire team beat,” Martz said. “So I knew if I didn’t make the tackle, that was going to be the game. I just had to set my feet and hope that he didn’t burn by me.
“He tried to fake inside, but as soon as he started going down the side, I just tried to force him to the sideline and wrapped him up.”
“Textbook tackle,” Martz said. “I learned that in like five seconds coming out of the locker room, how to tackle. And I’ve never been under a dogpile of 50 guys before, so … that was definitely something extremely exciting to be in that environment for like the next two hours after that game.”
Article from Pennlive.com as written by Michael Bullock. To read the article click here.