Getting their kicks: A look at Johnson County boys soccer teams

Center Grove Trojans

Coach: Jameson McLaughlin

Last year: 20-2-1; won Class 2A state championship

Who’s back: Gus Caito, Connor Campbell, Jared Wilkerson, Griffin Smith, seniors; Jacob Cooley, Ben Derosa, John Nystrom, Dawson Raymond, juniors.

Who’s gone: Conrad Bomber, Hayden Gorrall, Roman Johnson, Kyle Parry, Keaton Radecki, Reed Sauter, Jesse Sherman, Nathan Silva, Caleb Skinner, Patrick Southern, Logan Wade, Brian Wheeler.

New kids on the block: Luke Boha, Jack Neal, Drew Sauter, Nick Schier, sophomores.

Outlook: Second-year coach Jameson McLaughlin remains confident despite graduating most of his starters from the 2A state champions. Both Campbell and Wilkerson tallied three goals apiece a year ago and help form a solid senior core for the Trojans.

McLaughlin says: “This is a team that is very easily coached and is hungry, for sure. We should be able to defend really well this season, especially in the midfield. Connor Campbell is probably a top-five player in the state, so anywhere he plays is going to be our strength.”

Franklin Grizzly Cubs

Coach: Tony Harris

Last year: 9-6-2, lost to Martinsville in first round of Center Grove Sectional.

Who’s back: Austin Barnard, Ryan Clendening, Fernando Lopez-Perez, Sam Vanderveen, seniors; Joe Nerding, junior; Owen Atkison, Garrett Snyder, sophomores.

Who’s gone: Justin Beasley, Zach Lee, Trevor Vancleave, Bryce Wentzell.

New kids on the block: Owen Mahin, Champ McCorkle, freshmen.

Outlook: The return of Nerding (15 goals, nine assists) and Atkison (14 goals, 12 assists) give the Grizzly Cubs one of the area’s better 1-2 punches at the offensive end.

Harris says: “We’re going to be really, really good offensively. We’re a younger team, but having (senior) Austin (Barnard) in goal for us helps. We would like to be able to compete with Center Grove (at sectional), but we kind of want to see how the season plays out.”

Greenwood Woodmen

Coach: Jack Hamilton

Last year: 1-15-1, lost to Whiteland in semifinal at Center Grove Sectional.

Who’s back: Jerod Bailey, Jackson Beckham, Matt Lekse, Johnny Moranchel, Damon Maynard, seniors; Angel Capi, George Flanagan, Ian Rimer, juniors; Bryan Gonzales, Jonathan Graber, Cole Mahan, sophomores.

New kids on the block: Yael Lugo, freshman.

Outlook: New coach Jack Hamilton is no stranger to the local boys soccer scene having previously held the same title at Whiteland and Greenwood Christian Academy. Hamilton believes integrity over time can reverse the fortunes of the Woodmen program.

Hamilton says: “My goal is character. I have a system called CPR that stands for character, process and results. The focus is that if you develop your character everything else will fall into place.”

Greenwood Christian Cougars

Coach: Dan Carmichael

Last year: 15-3, lost to Central Christian Academy at Class A Knightstown Regional.

Who’s back: Ethan Chupp, Jackson Cross, Micah Loy, Jeremy Miller, Camden Peters, seniors; Cayden Bauschek, Andrew Butcher, Gerrit Huizinga, Gavin McCabe, juniors; Griffin Huizinga, sophomore.

Who’s gone: Ben Hodson, Noah Jurgenson, Chris Stanko, Adam Stephenson, Bryce Walters.

New kids on the block: Jack Kovacks, Peyton Modlin, Danny Wilson, sophomores; Josue Mier, Gabe Vesley, freshmen.

Outlook: The Cougars return plenty of firepower after winning 15 matches and advancing to the Knightstown Regional a year ago. Carmichael said he thinks his team is going to be as good as its leadership. This falls to seniors Ethan Chupp and Camden Peters along with junior Gerrit Huizinga.

Carmichael says: “We really had a good team last year and should be just as good this year. Last season we were stronger on defense, but this year it will be on offense.”

Whiteland Warriors

Coach: Justin VanHorn

Last year: 13-4-1, lost to Center Grove in championship match of Center Grove Sectional.

Who’s back: Andrew Morgan, Lalen Ralte, seniors; J.T. Beers, junior; Shawn Sullivan, sophomore.

Who’s gone: Enrico Amadore, Carter Beers, Josh Moreno, Bailey Shives, Cody Smith, Connor Swatts, Jordan Thomas.

New kids on the block: Van Liana, sophomore; Dale Hartley, freshman.

Outlook: The Warriors are coming off a season when they shared the Mid-State Conference title with Plainfield. VanHorn likes this group’s work ethic and hopes it translates to success when the seasn begins.

VanHorn says: “I like the effort. Probably the hardest-working group I’ve had. We did lose a lot of talent, but we still want to be successful, still want to have a winning season and want to do well in our conference.”

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at