Archive for Wednesday, September 3, 2003

New coach gives THS fresh outlook

September 3, 2003

Everything looks different this season in the Tonganoxie High soccer program.

The field at Chieftain Park was revamped in the spring and has a greener tint.

This year's Chieftain squad features seven seniors. Pictured, from
left, are Shane Cooper, Travis Andrews, Courtney King, Luke Brown,
Nick Volk, Jason Brammer and Derek Sparks. Look in future editions
of The Mirror for full team photos

This year's Chieftain squad features seven seniors. Pictured, from left, are Shane Cooper, Travis Andrews, Courtney King, Luke Brown, Nick Volk, Jason Brammer and Derek Sparks. Look in future editions of The Mirror for full team photos

New uniforms display red with gold trim.

And on the sideline, a new coach strolls back and forth.

After spending seven years at Tonganoxie, Harold Pittman left his posts as the Chieftain coach and a minister at Tonganoxie Christian Church for a ministerial position in Oklahoma.

Enter Luke Denney, a former Nebraska football player and later Rockhurst goalie whom the school district hired in May.

Denney is fresh out of Rockhurst, playing last fall for the Hawks. A 1996 Nebraska High School Soccer Player of the Year from Omaha Central, Denney initially walked on at Nebraska in football. The Cornhusker State is one of a few states with boys soccer in the spring.

Denney walked on as a defensive back and has a national championship ring, but he spent much of his collegiate career playing soccer.

Now at Tonganoxie, Denney inherits a team that went 6-11-1 a year ago and lost notable seniors Jacob Walker, Caleb Poterbin and Taylor Sneed.

But a new era has started and senior Travis Andrews welcomes the new coach.

"Everything's different," Andrews said. "We're seeing it from a more modern point of view maybe."

Not everything's different. The Chieftains have a hefty senior class with seven players.

"There's a lot more senior leadership this season," goalie Luke Brown said.

The season started Friday for the Chieftains, who dropped to 0-1 after a 2-0 loss to Mill Valley in Shawnee. After Tuesday's game against Bonner Springs, the Chieftains play Thursday against Basehor-Linwood.

Those games could get the soccer ball rolling and start the Chieftains on a course that might land a few more numbers in the win column.

That, at least, is the plan for senior Shane Cooper.

"Our goals are set a lot higher this year," he said.

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