It certainly hasn't been a typical season on the Augusta Prep soccer field.
In fact, it was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
"Our roster at the beginning of the year had only four experienced players. Half of the roster played middle school last year. Not JV - middle school," Augusta Prep soccer coach Forrest Wimberly said.
Still, behind the inexperience stood three Cavalier seniors: goalkeeper Harold Rivner and defenders Chris Burch and Phillip Tuten.
The three team leaders totaled two goals between them all season, but even the casual observer could see how important the trio was to Augusta Prep's success.
"The tangible things, goals and assists, those don't apply here - especially because they're our defense. These guys worked hard and led by example," Wimberly said. "I've called these guys the glue that held it all together."
That glue stuck it out in some trying games early in the season. After their first six games, the Cavaliers stood with a 2-4 record. It seemed Augusta Prep was destined for a subpar rebuilding year.
"At times it was exciting, but at times it was frustrating, too," Rivner said. "I still had good expectations, but midway through the season I got a little worried."
The Cavaliers rebounded to sweep the annual Blue and Gold Cup with three straight wins in mid-September and had a streak of eight wins in nine games. The highlight of the season came in a 6-2 win over First Presbyterian Day School - ranked in the GISA Class AAA's top five.
With a pair of wins over region rival John Milledge, including a 9-1 blowout victory in front of a homecoming crowd, the team earned second place in Region 4-AAA and a home game in the state playoffs.
Wimberly said it was his three seniors who made the difference, but none of the boys claimed individual credit for the turnaround.
"Burch was the heart of the defense, and Phil controlled the midfield," Rivner said. "You knew they were doing good when I didn't have to do much."
The Cavaliers went on to a 3-0 victory over Tattnall Square in the first round of the state playoffs but took an early exit Thursday in a 2-0 loss to GISA Class AAA No. 4 Dominion Christian.
Even though the season has ended, the boys will have one last chance to play together. Rivner, Burch and Tuten will compete in the senior all-star game Saturday during the GISA championship weekend.
Wimberly said the all-star game won't be the last effect the boys have on the soccer field.
"They've added a lot over the last four years. The legacy these boys have shown will prove itself next year and the year after," the coach said. "They've been the backbone of this team."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.