Cats Claw Back To State Semifinals in Huntsville

By: Matt Harris Email
By: Matt Harris Email

Bates field is the preferred practice field for Enterprise assistant coach Chad Waterman because it's more secluded. The boys seemed focused and intent on the goal at hand, preparing for their semifinal match against Auburn Friday night.

The boys wrapped up their final practice of the season Thursday at Bates field with a trip back to the state championship game on the line.

"We're confident. This has been the goal all year," said Demetrius Rogers.

Rogers is one of 11 seniors on the Wildcats squad. The team as a whole is excited to be going back to Huntsville for the second year in a row.

"It feels great we're back. Hopefully we're going to have a different result...get two wins instead of just one," said senior goal keeper John Evans.

Evans was the goal keeper for last year's state title run and recorded 11 shutouts along the way. The Wildcats fell one game short of hoisitng a state championship last year, losing 1-0 to Oak Mountain.

"I took that loss personally and put a lot of blame on myself. I wanted to make sure, with all the seniors, that we came out and focused on getting back to this point," said Evans.

With half the roster loaded with seniors this season senior leadership has been key to the Wildcats success.

"You only make it as far as your seniors will go and that's what our coaches tell us every game. Seniors are going off this year and we're ready to take it," said Zach Waterman, senior defender.

The senior leadership has stepped up to fill the void of Evan Buetler, last year's player of the year. Buetler graduated after last season, earning a scholarship to continue his soccer career at Lipscomb University.

"There's no replacing Evan, I love Evan, he's going off, playing ball in college but to be honest with you, no one can replace him," said Waterman.

"Someone's got to score those goals, someone's got to make those passes so all of us have a little Evan in us, it's not just one person this year," said Rogers.

It has been a collective effort from not just the 11 seniors but from the entire team. Freshman Jeff Palomarez scored two goals in the third round game against Davidson and assisted on the third goal scored by Jake Davis.

"We wanted to come out and stress to our younger guys how hard you need to work. They're like our younger brothers," said Rogers.

Tonight the Wildcat soccer family faces Auburn in Hunstville at 8:15 P.M. With a win tonight they will make a return trip to the state championship and could potentially play Oak Mountain for a re-match if the Eagles win their game against Vestavia Hills.

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