– By Chris Goltermann, CowetaScore.com
One of the disadvantages of any spring sport is the weather that greets teams at the start of practice in January. And Mother Nature hasn’t been kind at all so far in 2018.
But if there was a year that East Coweta boys head coach Todd Beldon didn’t have to worry about missing a full week of preseason practice, it might be this season.
“I wasn’t worried about losing that week at all with this bunch,” Beldon said confidently. “They’re like a well-oiled machine.”
Similar to its girls lineup, the Indians roster didn’t change drastically from last year’s trip to the Class 7A state playoffs following as last year’s Region 2 runner-up.
The transition also involves the graduation of a veteran keeper, with Sam Briggs stepping in to start Tuesday’s official season opener against LaGrange, which resulted in a 2-2 tie.
The effort came after unloading against Northside-Columbus for an 8-1 victory in East Coweta’s preseason scrimmage.
Both goals on Tuesday came up top from junior striker Andrew Wilson and Noah Shumake. Wilson led the Indians with 10 goals last year.
Defensively, East Coweta has much the same look as last year despite the graduation of All-County standout Robbie Rowlinson in the middle. Returning starter and senior co-captain Peter Walker is back at the other center back spot, with senior Ismael Aguirre also returning to the left side.
Senior co-captain Wyatt Palmer shifts to the back line while sophomore Matthew Allen, who saw most of his playing time at forward, moves to center midfield.
Along with senior co-captain Baylor Asher — one of two returning First Team All-Region 2-7A selections with Walker — the midfield is equally steady with the return of Ty Harrison. Francisco Duarte and Ezra Rubenstein also received starts in Tuesday’s contest.
Asher finished last season with eight goals and three assists.
The returning nucleus also includes seniors Andrew Shumake and Chase Manning, with Rayhan Khot and Daniel Contreras backing up Briggs in goal.