Experience could help out Elks
Last season, the senior class helped lay the foundation for Burleson’s boys soccer program and coach Travis Hughes. Those seniors shared the pitch with some talented underclassmen, including five freshman who started most of the season. The dedication of those seniors isn’t lost on Hughes. “I really enjoyed last year’s senior class, they showed the young ones the way,” Hughes said. “They set the tone and helped us improve. These young guys are where they are now because of those guys. The seniors helped lay a foundation they will need benefit from. They were unselfish.” After posting a record of 4-2-1 in non-district play last season, the Elks went 0-2-12 in District 8-5A play. But Burleson played 8-5A opponents much tighter than the previous two seasons under Hughes. More importantly, the younger Elks gained valuable experience which should pay off this season and also has Travis excited about the future. “I’m really excited about the season,” Hughes said. “Looking forward to getting starting and see where we stand.” Hughes said the vibe of the squad is different this season. They are confident with what they are doing on the field and comfortable with each other. “We are really young but experienced since we had so many young guys playing last season,” Hughes said. “The only ones that haven’t been with the whole time are the seniors. Things are going pretty smooth. Everyone knows what to expect and what is going on. Our practices have been up tempo. We’ve spent less time explaining things and more times getting to work.” Back for the Elks are first-team all-district defender senior Brit Jones and second-team sophomore defender Rolando Medina. The defense should be solid with junior Alex Heinle back at keeper. Also returning is sophomore midfielder/forward Jose Llamas. Hughes expects offensive production to come from junior forward Hayden Whitten and sophomore midfielder/forwards Josh Padilla and Freddy Hernandez. “These are your normal sophomores,” Hughes said. “Most started every game last season.” The Elks open play today at the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Shootout. Burleson then plays at the Everman Tournament Jan. 12-14 before opening District 9-5A play Jan. 27 hosting Granbury.