High School Boys Football Preview: Deep and experienced foxes have their sights set on Battlefield title | High school
King George’s men’s soccer team doesn’t officially open its season until Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean the Foxes have lacked competition so far.
“I have 19 guys and I feel like any one of them could be a starter,” Foxes head coach Jeff Butler said. “It makes for really intense workouts. I think the guys are doing a good job pushing each other.
The Foxes’ attempt to challenge the perennial Battlefield District Chancellor is rooted in the deepest roster Butler can remember during his 12 years at the helm. King George is firing 13 players (including eight seniors) from an 8–3 side that qualified for the Region 4B semi-finals last spring.
Putting that foundation in place allowed the Foxes to adopt a more aggressive stance than in past seasons. Traditionally a more defensive and possession-focused side, King George hopes to increase the pressure on enemies by chasing balls sent over the top.
“Coach Butler always tells us that running doesn’t require any skill,” said senior midfielder Bryce Kuberek.
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That’s not to say the Foxes lack talent. It starts with Kuberek, a converted defender who Butler called the “engine” of his formation.
“He does everything,” Butler said of Kuberek. “He is tall and lean, capable of winning a lot of balls in the air in midfield. He’s really comfortable with the ball at his feet, has great vision, any pass you need to make.
With Kuberek now patrolling midfield, juniors Jackson Sample and Dillon Carriage have stepped up to form a loyal defensive duo at center back. Sophomore Max Lipinksi, who played as the football team’s starting kicker last fall, will figure prominently between the goalkeeper posts.
“Max is a pretty big presence,” Kuberek said of the 6-foot-3 Lipinski. “He is also very vocal. And it helps to have a leader there because he can see everything. If you see him coming towards you, you probably want to walk away.
However, the Foxes are not shy about facing high expectations. Eastern View and Courtland will also provide stiff resistance, but the path to Battlefield District supremacy will almost certainly be through coach Mike Webb’s Chargers.
“We’ve been climbing that hill for a long time,” Butler said with a laugh. “They are always the creme de la creme.”
Joey Lo Monaco: 540/368-5045