Last Updated: Apr 27th, 2015 - 11:04:56

Prince George Soccer Looks To Surprise
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Mar 12, 2014, 10:57

David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
PRINCE GEORGE—With nearly the entire team returning from last season’s 10-5-1 squad, Royals Boys Soccer Coach Tommy Harrison has good reason to believe his team can win the inaugural Conference 12 title.

“I’m excited; I think we have a decent squad and I think we can compete. I know it didn’t show when I emptied the bench in the fourth quarter. But we have some depth,” Harrison said.

While the subs allowed Lee Davis to score three times in the fourth quarter, it was the first three quarters of the scrimmage that has Harrison thinking that this might just be a Royals season. In the early going, Lee Davis had problems dealing with the Royals defensive backfield. And, even when they did muster an attack, it seemed like either a defender would get a foot on a shot attempt or sophomore goal tender Logan Chaddick would come up with the save.

The Royals were also pretty tight through the midfield, and took advantage of their punch and run offense with Darien out-legging the Lee Davis defenders for a pair of goals in the first half. Harrison said Darien is definitely the team’s offensive leader, and they like to move him around and isolate him on the left side in one-on-one situations.

“Certainly, Darien’s our offensive weapon; we kind of use him all around. He can beat one defender all day long,” Harrison said.

Another key change this season is not having to deal with Thomas Dale being in the same district. Thomas Dale, a perennial Central District powerhouse, has dominated not just the district, but also the region over the past decade.

For most teams in the Central District the battle has always been to finish second or third to get a chance at playing in the region. Dale at the top, for the most part, has been the rule for way too long. And, last season, the Knights knocked the fourth-seeded Royals out of the district tournament in the first round.

“I’ve been here for a while and I have had to deal with Dale every year. When that elephant leaves the room, you have to feel a little better. Obviously Mark Fowler is a great coach, no matter what they have talent wise; they always have a good team. Not having to get abused year after year is a good thing,” Harrison said.

Still, Conference 12 has its challenges. The conference sports Matoaca, LC Bird, Clover Hill, Meadowbrook, and Manchester. Matoaca is another former Central District power, and Clover Hill and Manchester both have been district leaders in soccer.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot

Still, Harrison believes this may be the best team he has had since he started coaching at Prince George. The team started to gel late last season, and most of that will be back this year. In the scrimmage, the team looked rusty but not out of sync. The defense transitioned well, and the overlapping defenders managed to keep Lee Davis under control.

Perhaps the biggest thing is getting Kameron (Kam) Smith out of the net and onto the field. With the rise of Logan in the goal, it gave Harrison an opportunity to take advantage of Kam’s superior field play. Last season, Smith was forced to play goal keeper because there was no one else up to the task.

Not surprisingly, Smith finished the year as the second team All-District in the goal.

“Kam is pretty strong. Logan has come through and is playing well and if he gets hurt we have Kam to back him up,” Harrison said.

Copyright © 2004 - present