Fort Lupton: Shoes are on the other feet

FLHS seniors do that mentoring thing for young Bluedevils squad

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Fort Lupton goalkeeper Hector Morales remembers his freshman year of varsity soccer.

“It’s more competitive, stronger style of soccer,” Morales said. “It’s harder. You have to play smart. It is a big change. I adjusted well. I always try my best.”

This year, he and two other seniors will take on the role of helping the incoming freshmen make that adjustment on a team that’s gone to the state playoffs the last two seasons.

“The hard part is having to rebuild this team. All the seniors we grew up playing with are gone,” midfielder Jonathon Gonzalez said. “It’s not difficult. It’s something new.”

“They (the freshmen) look up to us because we are seniors,” said defenseman Juan Hernandez. “We need to set an example for them. I think about it. Having the captain's badge, it’s something we should do. We’re playing for everyone on and off the field. It’s something to look forward to, being a leader.”

“When we’re playing, the coach is on the sideline. He’s the coach for everybody,” Gonzalez said. “The captains are the coaches of the players. If they are losing their heads, we are the ones telling them to calm down. It depends on the person. If a person is hot-headed, he’ll be hot-headed the whole game. The difficult part is getting them to calm down while worrying about yourself.”

“It’s hard to get some players to get their head out of the gutter,” Hernandez said. “If they are playing badly during games, that’s where we step in, get them to play as a team and have fun.”

The Bluedevils, who finished 14-4 last season, need to find replacements for eight graduated seniors.

“We definitely have a promising freshman squad and middle-classmen,” said third-year coach Kyle Reddy. “We realize the talent we have, the opportunity we have. They just want to play.”

A common theme among the Bluedevils is a need to change the overall mindset. FLHS lost to Jefferson Academy in the second round of the state playoffs last year. The two teams play each other this season in Fort Lupton.

“We need to keep working hard,” Morales said. “We need to spread the effort to the team every day, every single game. It’s doable.”

Hernandez’ goal for this year was pretty simple .. win the state title.

“We want a good run in state this time,” Gonzales said. “We’re going to end that second-round curse. Ever since freshman year, we’ve been out in the second round. We need to be more determined.”

“And have a better mindset,” Hernandez said. “On and off the field, prepare yourself mentally and physically for every battle.”

“I want to do the best I can in every game,” Morales said. “It’s an easier year. I’ve been here four years. I want to have fun on the field and help everyone I can.”

Morales’ advice to this year’s incoming freshmen was pretty simple.

“Do your best,” he said. “Never give up. It’s fun to be that extra coach. You’re interacting with your team.”

Fort Lupton beat Standley Lake 12-1 in a recent scrimmage.

“I told the boys after, ‘If you can beat a team like that, you can do anything,’” Reddy said. “Classification? Division? It doesn’t matter. Believe in the system, believe in the system, believe in the system.”

Fort Lupton High School, Fort Lupton High School soccer, Kyle Reddy, Hector Morales, Jonathon Gonzalez, Juan Hernandez

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