Tom Norton sometimes thinks he is too old to keep the schedule he maintains.
The first-year Augusta Prep soccer coach and director of Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club at one point was conducting two Cavaliers practices a day and zipping to Patriots Park to direct the two Arsenal teams he coaches.
"Six hours a day, four and a half hours straight and it's 95 degrees," said Norton, 47, who played soccer for the University of South Carolina and later was the head coach at Georgia Southern.
The Cavaliers finished back-to-back weekends of early season tournaments last week, and Arsenal games start this weekend.
But soccer is Norton's occupation, and his latest task is to mold a Cavaliers boys team high on upperclassmen, but with little club soccer experience. Norton said the only club experience on the team belongs to a sophomore sidelined by an injury and a pair of freshman. Many on the squad play multiple sports at the school.
"They're all pretty experienced in different sports and we have a lot of really good athletes, but they're not as experienced in soccer as I'm used to," Norton said.
Norton has spent the first weeks of the season getting his players adjusted to new positions and a switch from man-to-man to zone defense. The Cavaliers will play a 4-4-2.
Norton said the primary focus has been organizing Prep's back line and getting players to adjust to not having a sweeper.
"When you have a sweeper, you have a guy between everybody to pick up everybody's mistakes," he said. "When you don't have a sweeper back there, you can't make mistakes."
The Cavaliers already have played last season's top two teams from GISA Class AAA. They lost to defending state champion Stratford 1-0 on Aug. 22 and tied state runner-up Mount de Sales 2-2.
Augusta Prep senior Morgan Kuhar said a realistic goal for the Cavaliers could be the Class AAA semifinals and that playing some of the state's top teams has shown them what it will take.
"We can compete, and we know how we have to work now," said Kuhar, who missed last season while abroad in France. "It's going to be hard. But I think we can do it."
Norton said the players are beginning to realize their roles, and as the season progresses they should become more comfortable.
And Norton will continue to juggle multiple duties.
"It's a little crazy," he said.
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