Peak to Peak soccer has been in the statewide news plenty over the past few seasons, but it is because the Pumas girls have done so well.
The boys want a piece of the action.
It was the Pumas boys, after all, who initially put the program on the map. Long before the girls’ back-to-back titles the past two seasons, the boys gave the school its first ever team championship by winning it all in 2005.
“We have pretty high hopes for this year,” said senior forward David Griffith, the Pumas’ top returning goal scorer. “We still have a lot of things we need to work out as a team, getting better with our touch and our communication, but we honestly think we can make it really far this year.”
Few will dispute that the proper coach is in place. Peter Chandler coaches both genders and was at the helm during all of the titles. This season, the front man sees a senior-heavy team with a wide array of talents.
It’s just a matter of getting all the pieces moving in the same direction.
“We’re trying to figure things out after our scrimmage against Centaurus,” Chandler said. “We lost 2-nil. I thought we had speed, then all of a sudden I’m just watching kids flying by. But we’re heading in the right direction.”
The Pumas, who went 9-7-1 last season and were eliminated in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs by Holy Family 2-1, have evenly-distributed talent. That bodes well for things clicking sooner rather than later.
Midfielders Chris Thompson and William Swanson are among the Class 3A Metro League’s the best possession players, and the Pumas’ defense is in solid shape with Zac Cusworth, Ben Pagel, and Chris Quinn patrolling the back end.
Also keep an eye on sophomore Nathan Dee, who was injured for much of last season. Dee could develop into Peak to Peak’s finest scoring threat. The Pumas also have added German exchange student Sam Turken.
“We’re definitely more balanced,” Griffith said. “We still have a few all-stars like Chris Thompson and Nathan Dee, but there’s definitely also that balance where all our players can contribute. There’s not just one great goal-scorer or one great defender.”
Griffith himself might be marked as the marquee goal-scorer after leading the Pumas with seven last season, but can be characterized as one of several solid players who has done his part as his high school career evolves.
“David’s been doing a good job year in and year out, and now he’s a senior,” Chandler said. “He’s a little bigger, a little stronger and a little faster, and all of that helps.”
Griffith also will have the opportunity to once again play with his younger brother Daniel, who saw some time as a freshman last season. Daniel Griffith will split time in goal with Bailey McMahon and also will play outside midfielder.
Daniel Griffith scored one goal last season but did not appear as a goalkeeper.
“It’s going to be awesome,” David Griffith said. “Daniel and I have that brother chemistry, so it’s going to be fun getting to play with him more on the field.”
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