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Buford has an old face in a new place for the Jackets’ 2008 soccer season.
Leland Summers, who coached the BHS junior varsity team and a former varsity assistant, is the new varsity head coach.
Summers’ chore is to keep the Jackets’ program among the Class AA elite.
A year ago, the Jackets fashioned a 17-5 mark and earned a Class AA Lower State playoff bid.
The team returns eight players for the new season, led by senior midfielder JoJo Morris, an all-state and all-region selection who won the team’s Best Offensive Player Award last season.
Morris is headed to Newberry College after signing to play football with the Indians.
Morris has plenty of help in Jon Michael Hayes, a junior midfielder-forward who reaped all-region honors, and senior midfielder Thomas Sutter, the team’s Most Improved Player last season.
Other returning veterans are senior midfielder-defender Shane Blackmon, senior defender Michael Childers, junior keeper Andrew Riner, senior defender Tyquan Brown and sophomore forward Darren Macey.
Senior newcomers include midfielder Chris Pittman and defender Kennedy Threatt.
Summers can also count on a solid junior class which includes midfielders Andrew Snipes, Michael Bailey, Tyler Newton and Qua Reid.
Josh Ferguson will see duty at midfielder and defender. Summers will also look to forwards Jonathan Stiwinter and Chris Jacobs, who garnered the junior varsity MVP on the BHS Junior Jackets’ 7-5 team last season. Jacobs is also slated to see time at keeper along with Jeremy McManus, who will work at keeper and defender.
The defender position is solid with juniors Bryant Sims, Jesse James, Reid Smith and Jay Robinson slated to see their share of playing time.
Macey, at forward, leads the sophomores which includes defender Bryden Love and midfielder Colton Mehaffey.
“In terms of numbers, this is our largest soccer squad at Buford High School which gives us a lot of options,” said Summers, who is assisted by John Hayes and Jeff Langley. “This group is coming along well. We got off to a slow start because we had some players still involved with the winter sports and now they’ve joined us.
“We’re looking forward to a good season,” he said. “We feel the key to our season is having a balanced attack and our defenders playing hard.
“It has taken a little time, but we’re coming together well as a team,” he said. “How fast our veterans and newcomers mesh into a solid unit will be a vital part in our season.”