The Trojans will be without five players that had an impact on the team for the past few years when the starting lineups are announced at 8 p.m., but that doesn’t mean this year’s squad is inexperienced.
“We’re replacing a pretty good group. We’re replacing Dylan [Hobert] in goal, we’re replacing some midfielders in Homero [Perez] and Juan [Vargas] and a couple defenders with Dan Jones and Craig Berry. We’ve got the five of those that have started for a couple years, so there are some shoes to fill there,” Trojan coach Scott New said.
“If you look at it, we’ve got about nine of our current starters this year that have gotten significant time the last two years. So even though it seems like we lost a lot, we still have a lot of guys that have played quite a bit, played in some playoff games and done well. Feel pretty good about the majority of the group. There are still a couple positions we’re trying to fill and trying to make sure they’re solid. I think overall we’re pleased with where we are right now.”
New got a little taste of what this year would be like on Friday night, as Carrollton scrimmaged against Cartersville. The Trojans got the 3-1 win, but as it is with most teams this time of year, there are positives to focus on and things to improve.
The Trojans have enjoyed success the past few seasons, making it to the Class AAA state semifinals last year before losing to the eventual champions, Woodward Academy. Winning breeds winning, and that could mean good things this year.
“Any time a team can start winning and get consistent with it, there start to be expectations that not only you have, but your kids have. Being able to get some of those playoff experiences, those big games, it’s huge. We’re going to take that as a positive, but we realize each year is it’s own year, as well. We don’t have the same team that we had last year. It’s a different dynamic,” New said. “Once you have traditions and once you get things going, those expectations keep it there.”
A move up to Class AAAA presents an interesting challenge for the Trojans. While they won’t have to face any of the other three semifinal teams from last year within their own classification, the path to a region title could be a bit more difficult.
Carrollton enters the 2013 season ranked No. 2, according to eurosportscoreboard.com, behind Dalton and ahead of Southeast Whitfield, which also made the move up to Class AAAA.
“We looked at it when the new classifications came out and we noticed that the teams that have been traditionally good in AAA either stayed in AAA or actually went up to AAAAA. The final four last year, it was us, it was Woodward, it was St. Pius and Gainesville. Gainesville moved up to AAAAA and Woodward and St. Pius stayed at AAA. Coming in to AAAA, it’s a little bit of a mix,” New said. “I don’t know if we have some of those [elite teams], but it’s still a strong classification. As far as the region goes, I think the region is even better. We’re going to have to work hard to try and win the region or do well in the region.”
Last season, Carrollton and Northgate drew to a 2-2 tie and New expects the same level of competition again tonight.
“Northgate’s a good team. Northgate is a team that we struggled with last year. They’re always going to have good players. We expect them to come in and have a very good team like they always do. We’re going to have to fix some of the things that we struggled with in the scrimmage. We’re still in the process right now where we’re getting everybody on the same page and it’s still early,” New said.