Boys’ Soccer Returns to South Fork, Cubs are 1-2 in Early Season
First time head coach Kelly Paine is at the helm with long-time local youth coach Jesse Hill assisting him. Once all the paperwork is cleared the Cubs will have 16 on the roster, 2 seniors, 5 juniors, 3 sophomores and 6 freshmen.
The Cubs opened the season on August 30 with a 4-1 road loss to Willits. The home side took advantage of inexperience and first-game jitters on the part of South Fork and had a 3-0 lead at the half. South Fork shored up its defense and played a much better second half, allowing just one more goal from Willits and getting on the board with a PK from sophomore Jayden Paine.
On September 6 the Cubs hosted Ferndale for their home and Humboldt Del Norte League opener and got South Fork’s first boys’ soccer win in three seasons with a 2-0 shut-out over the Wildcats. With South Fork dominating possession and scoring chances throughout the first half, senior midfielder Chris Arbuthnot finally broke through Ferndale’s back line about 30 minutes into the period and poked a low shot past a diving keeper for the 1-0 lead.Taking that lead into halftime, the Cubs came out strong in the second half and junior Cooper Scott scored on a 5-yard shot off of a cross from sophomore Banyan Harding. The win gives the Cubs a 1-0 record against small schools, a key factor in qualifying for the post season.
On Saturday, a 3-0 defeat on the road against Eureka “felt like a win,” according to Coach Paine, who had prepared his team to play a bunker defense against the big school powerhouse. “We built a fort around the goal and figured we’d just frustrate them and that’s exactly what we did,” said Paine. Down just 1-0 at the half, the Cubs were able mount a couple of counterattacks in the second half and threatened to tie the game. “We kept our composure and never let up.” Eureka managed to score twice more before time ran out, but South Fork walked off the the field “with our heads held high,” said Paine.
The Cubs will travel to McKinleyville on Wednesday for a 5 pm kick-off and will host St. Bernard’s on Saturday with an 11 am start.
The team’s two seniors include co-captains Chris Arbuthnot and Rickie Anderson. Arbuthnot, now playing his third year of high school soccer, is a midfielder with good speed and is stepping up his leadership skills. Rickie Anderson plays in the defense and is a solid, no nonsense player also in his third year of playing.
Juniors include Cooper Scott, Eduardo Alatorre, Gerardo Lopez, Desi Lafferty and Carlos Garcia. Scott is the team’s #1 keeper and has shown surprising skill at the specialized position, using the good hands he has developed in baseball and basketball to keep the ball out of the back of the net. “I can actually play him anywhere,” said Paine, who pulled him out of the goal in the second half against Ferndale. Scott promptly scored an insurance goal for his team to seal the victory.Alatorre plays on the wing and is stepping up his game as he contributes more and more.
Lopez is a fast solid defender in his first year of high school soccer.
Lafferty has a high soccer IQ and brings a lot of playing experience to his midfield position. “He’s a dependable distributor will great ball-handling skills, ” said Paine.
Garcia is a forward with a strong shot, new to high school soccer.
Sophomores include Jayden Paine, Nathan Baffert, and Banyan Harding.
Paine is another versatile player who can play anywhere on the field, but will primarily play midfield where his ball-handling and passing skills will shine.
Harding has good technical skills and a high soccer IQ.
Baffert is playing for the first time and is improving every day. “He’s a good physical player,” said Paine.
The team’s freshman include Cameron Messenger, Cody Gamble, Ethan Kulchin, and Graham McConnell as well as two more still clearing paperwork.
Messenger is a skilled hard working player who has the potential to lead the team as he matures. He can play anywhere on the field, including back-up goalie.
Gamble is a very hard worker who is improving every day, according to Coach Paine. He will play midfield.
Kulchin plays a little back-up goalie with a good soccer mind who also has the skills to play numerous positions.
McConnell is a first time soccer player who has gravitated to the sweeper position for which he is a natural fit. “He’s a very good athlete with speed and balance” and he is picking up soccer skills very quickly.