Hunter Norton didn't bother with other sports as a boy growing up in Statesboro, Ga.
His dad, Tom Norton, coached the soccer teams at Georgia Southern University, and Hunter was a fixture at Eagles practices, games and summer camps.
"It gave me the passion to play soccer, being out there most days and being around my dad," said Norton, a rising senior at Greenbrier High School and The Columbia County News-Times All-County Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
The Nortons moved to the Augusta area when Hunter was 10. His dad became the director of coaching at Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club and recently was named the boys and girls coach at Augusta Prep.
Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said his center mid is like a coach on the field, the product of Norton being raised by a soccer coach.
"I spend more time with him than anybody else does," Norton said of his dad. "So he can always tell me what I'm doing wrong in games or tell me what I need to work on."
Norton helped the Wolfpack to a perfect regular season, with Greenbrier finishing undefeated for the first time since 2003. The most memorable game was Greenbrier's last-second win over rival Evans, a win in which Norton played a key role.
Evans scored to send the teams into the final two minutes tied 1-1 and facing what seemed like a sure overtime.
"You could tell in their eyes -- and it was Hunter mostly -- that we were going to make something happen after that," Warren said.
Norton had his opportunity after a Wolfpack corner kick. He remembered a scramble in the box, then the ball appearing at his feet.
He hit it from six yards out and Greenbrier preserved its undefeated run.
"When we really needed a big play to be made, he was in the middle of it," Warren said.
Norton, who also plays for Arsenal, has started the process of visiting colleges interested in him and his skills. He has received an offer from Georgia Southern, a Division I school, but is keeping his options open.
Norton said he wants to play college soccer and hopes to one day join the professional ranks.
"If I'm lucky," Norton said. "And every soccer player's goal is to play in the World Cup."
2009 All-County Boys Soccer selections
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hunter Norton, Greenbrier, Jr.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Brian Killips, Evans
Michael Combs, Lakeside, Sr.: Panthers keeper did not allow region opponents a goal.
Kelechi Erondu, Greenbrier, Jr.: All-region striker led area with 32 goals.
Bryce Cartledge, Evans, Sr.: Sweeper was Region 3-AAAA Player of the Year and among the best in the area with 17 assists.
Dalton Beckham, Lakeside, Jr.: Defensive midfielder was an all-region pick and the Panthers' captain.
Joseph Hall, Augusta Prep, Sr.: All-region and all-state pick amassed 25 assists, second most in GISA Class AAA.
Hunter Norton, Greenbrier, Jr.: County Player of the Year's defining moment was last-second goal to beat rival Evans.
Joe Rizner, Evans, Jr.: Versatile Knight was a top-notch defender and led Evans with 16 goals.
Matt Hutchison, Lakeside, Jr.: Lakeside midfielder led Panthers in assists and was an all-region pick.
Kyler Harden, Greenbrier, Sr.: Leader of defense that allowed 15 goals in 18 games.
Ian Rosas, Evans, So.: Super sophomore with great touch was an all-region selection.
Gabe Warner, Harlem, Jr.: Bulldog forward was his team's leading scorer and an all-region pick.
Stephen Shugars, Evans, Jr.
Ji Hoon Meyer, Evans, Fr.
Jeff DuMond, Evans, Sr.
Matt Tran, Lakeside, Fr.
Kyle Lawson, Lakeside, Sr.
Michael Punch, Lakeside, Jr.
Tyler Sanders, Greenbrier, Jr.
Reed Norton, Greenbrier, Fr.
Devin Lemaire, Greenbrier, Sr.
A.J. Thibideau, Harlem, Sr.
Alex Levy, Augusta Prep, Jr.
Chris Montescleros (G), J.T. Guley (G), Chris Burton (E), Leonardo Edwards (E), Jesus Lopez (E), Justin Pitock (L), Steven Campbell (L), Matt Weinstein (L), Brennon Canada (L), Daniel Hull (AP), Griffen Eubanks (AP), John Paul Lynn (AP).
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