Cody Hesler
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Brock Netter

Brock is SOSA's primary writer and has worked for the Coshocton Tribune, the Kankakee Daily Journal (Ill.), the Vinton-Jackson Courier and the Jackson Telegram. He's a six-time award-winning journalist, a lifelong WWE fan, a suffering Bengals fan and calls the sidelines his home.

BOYS SOCCER: 10 players to keep an eye on this fall

These 10 players are poised for big years on the soccer pitch.

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

After a near three-month hiatus, high school sports are back in Southern Ohio … thankfully.

ZT’s Rece Allen scored 24 goals last season and will lead the Pioneers in 2023.
CREDIT: Brock Netter/SOSA

The fall calendar brings promise in our area as several programs always seem to turn late-season momentum into historic postseason runs. That’s especially true on the soccer pitch.

Last fall, we had three boys programs win district titles — Gallia Academy, Wheelersburg and Minford. We expect more of the same in 2023 with rosters full of talent and expectations in place.

So as we get reacquainted with the soccer pitch, here’s a list of 10 players in our coverage area, and in no particular order, to keep an eye on this fall.

NOTE: This certainly does not mean there aren’t other players who will have great seasons. This is simply a list of 10 players we’ve randomly compiled. 

Cody Hesler, North Adams

With Hesler back up top, this could be the Green Devils’ year to do something special. He accounted for 19 goals and a team-high 11 assists last fall, helping his Devils to 13 wins and a sectional title. They have been knocking at the door for the last few years, and with their trusted forward steering the ship, the sky’s the limit. 

Christopher Oldfield, Peebles

Peebles lost their top four goal scorers from last season, so Oldfield will be relied on more than ever. As the team’s stout goalkeeper, he came up with 137 saves for the 12-win Indians. Now, as the Indians look to find their next top scorer, Oldfield will try and hold down the fort defensively to keep them in games.

Caleb Lewis, Northwest

Lewis is the straw that stirs the drink. With decisive feet, the IQ to make the right plays, and a quick trigger to shoot, he netted 25 goals and 12 assists last year — both team-highs. He’s back, as are most of the Mohawks. Don’t be surprised if Northwest wins a district title with Lewis leading the charge. 

Gavin Downey, Minford

Minford has won back-to-back district titles. And Downey has been on the field for both of them. Coincidence? Probably not. He scored 10 goals and passed out six assists last season, helping the Falcons to 16 wins. Keep an eye on him this fall. 

Cameron Thompson, Unioto

He’s arguably the top defender in Southern Ohio. Thompson sets the tone for a Unioto defense that allowed just 16 goals last season. He’s a physical defender, but also possesses speed to catch anyone in the open field. If Unioto wants to make it back to the state tournament, which they unquestionably have the talent to do so, Thompson will be a key factor. 

Isaac Coleman, Jackson

Coleman in the goal is as solid as you can get in the area. An all-district keeper last season, he routinely threw his body around with no regard for himself to keep Jackson in games. As one of seven seniors for the Ironmen, he’ll be a focal point for them to reach their goals — no pun intended.

Landon Rowe, Ironton St. Joe

The Flyers have had no shortage of outstanding scorers, and Rowe has all the making to be the next great one. He scored 12 goals and passed out 20 assists last fall, showcasing his wizardry with the ball at his feet. With a reloaded team led by Rowe, Ironton St. Joe will be a factor in Division III.

Rece Allen, Zane Trace

The Pioneers have a trio of scorers, yet Allen is very underrated. He’d be a No. 1 option on most other teams, netting 24 goals and 11 assists last season. With a new coach in Matthew Ott ready to lead Zane Trace, Allen’s game could reach a new level. He’s ready to take flight.

Caleb Redding, Fairfield Union

A mismatch nightmare. That’s the best way to describe Redding. With a 6-foot-4 presence and a knack for scoring, he netted 25 goals last season. He’ll put on a show this season and the Falcons will be a sleeper team come tournament time if Redding continues to find the back of the net. 

Benaiah Andrews, South Webster

The Jeeps were young, like really young, last season. Still, they won 11 games and Andrews’ maturity and experience both grew by the minute. He netted six goals and dished a team-high 14 assists, proving he could be trusted with the ball in big moments. There’s potential for this team, and Andrews will spearhead that charge. 


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