By Wade Linville –
For the first time in Western Brown High School sports history, a Western Brown boys soccer team has staked claim to the Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division title.
This year’s Broncos would capture the school’s first ever league crown under the leadership of first-year head coach Bobby Kuntz and a varsity squad that has brought to the field a mix of experience and young talent.
Kuntz was quick to recognize the potential of this year’s varsity team before the season began, and his confidence in his players would certainly play a huge role in the Broncos’ success on the field this season.
“With all the work the boys had put in during the offseason and preseason, we knew we had the makings of something special,” said Kuntz. “What it was going to come down to, which is something we communicated to the boys, was are we going to be able to play our style of soccer regardless of the opponent and were we going to seize our moments when they presented themselves.”
Along their path to a league title, this year’s Broncos finished their regular season schedule without a single league loss at 7-0-3. It was a 1-0 victory over the Amelia Barons on Oct. 6 that would clinch the Broncos their league title while lifting them to an overall record of 11-0-4 on the season with only one non-league contest remaining in the regular season. It was junior Colston Roades scoring the only goal in the Broncos’ win over Amelia, while sophomore Chase Easterling delivered the assist.
A significant factor in the Broncos’ success has been an impressive defense which has led to a record-setting season for sophomore goalkeeper Sam Linkous.
Of the Broncos’ 15 games this season, Linkous has recorded 11 shutouts as the single-season record holder for shutouts at Western Brown.
Also playing big roles on the defensive end have been sophomore defender Wesley O’Hara and senior midfielder/defender Gabe O’Hara.
Other Bronco defenders contributing in this year’s success include sophomore Noah Hiler, junior Jordan Hamblin, sophomore Joey Kinder, senior Jake Zinkhen, sophomore Austin Kirk, and senior Aaron Partin.
As for the Western Brown offense, junior Austin Schweitzer has recorded 11 goals, Roades has fired for six goals, junior Zach Knight and Easterling have scored five goals apiece, and sophomore Blake Hurt and sophomore Austin Coffey have recorded four goals apiece for the season.
Other players aiding the Broncos to their first league championship include sophomore midfielder Afton Dixon, junior midfielder Dillan Scarpinski, and senior defender/goalkeeper Tanner Shasteen.
In 15 games, the Broncos managed to outscore their opponents by a margin of 39-4.
After facing Ross in a non-league road game to finish off the regular season on Monday, Oct. 10, the Broncos were scheduled to begin Southwest District Division II Sectional Tournament play against the Blanchester Wildcats on Monday, Oct. 17.
The Broncos are the No. 5 seed for this year’s sectional tourney, and will have home field advantage for their round one sectional bout against No. 15 seed Blanchester (6-6-1). The winner will move on to face No. 8 seed Monroe (6-4-3) in round two of the sectional tournament on Oct. 20.