News Democrat

Broncos focused on SBAAC American Division 3-peat

After claiming Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division titles over the past two years under the leadership of head coach Bobby Kuntz, the Western Brown Broncos are working hard during the preseason with their eyes focused on a league championship three-peat.

“We only lost two starters from last year to this year, so we are going to need everyone to fulfill their role again this season,” said Kuntz. “But, just as in the past two seasons, our defensive core of Sam Linkous (senior goalkeeper), Wes O’Hara (senior defender), Joe Kinder (senior defender), and Noah Hiler (senior defender) will be the foundation we build everything off of. As we move into the attack, Blake Hurt (senior) and Austin Coffey (senior) will be hugely important when it comes to scoring goals and creating them for others.”

Hurt finished second on the team last year in goals and assists.

“We are putting a lot on his shoulders in the attacking third of the field this season, but we are very confident he will be able to handle the load because of the type of player he is,” Kuntz said of Hurt.

Austin Coffey finished third in goals for the team last season, so the Broncos will again be counting on his finishing ability with his head as well as his feet.

“Ian Shaffer is another player that we need to be influential in the attack. His role calls for more of a balance in defense and attack, but there will be opportunities for him as well. Dylan Coffey is a player that we are expecting to score and create this year. He has had a very good preseason and we look for him to continue building on it,” said Kuntz.

If you haven’t noticed already, the Bronco varsity team is packed with experience and talent, most back from last year’s team that finished as league champs with a 9-1 record in SBAAC American Division play.

So far, the preseason has went well for Kuntz and his Broncos as they prepare for this fall, a team that possesses great chemistry and solid work ethic.

“Preseason has gone well again this year. One of the best things about this group of guys is that they enjoy being around each other and they enjoy playing the game,” said Kuntz. “I don’t have to get on them to work harder, they push themselves to reach a high level and, because of this, we’ve been able to add in a few new wrinkles this preseason. We went to team camp at Ohio Northern University this year and it was a good time for the boys to work on the things we had been talking about. And most importantly, we have made it through without any injuries.”

The Western Brown varsity boys soccer team recently ventured to McNicholas High School to keep in a preseason tourney, defeating North Adams (2-1) and Princeton (1-0) but suffering a narrow 2-1 loss in a well-played game against Kings.

“It was scoreless at the half and then they scored a pretty nice goal to go up 1-0. A few minutes after they managed another (goal) off of a corner before we were able to answer with one of our own that Blake Hurt finished off of a cross (pass) from Austin Coffey,” Kuntz said of the game against Kings.

Kuntz enters his third year as the Western Brown High School boys soccer coach, coaching teams to SBAAC American Division titles in 2016 and 2017 and compiling an overall coaching record of 25-5-6. He was named the SBAAC American Division Boys Soccer Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017.

The Broncos will face Reading in a home game on Aug. 2.

The Western Brown Broncos faced some tough competition while competing in a preseason tournament at McNicholas over the weekend. Western Brown Broncos faced some tough competition while competing in a preseason tournament at McNicholas over the weekend.

By Wade Linville