Jaguars overcome obstacles en route to state
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison Central boy’s soccer team fought to the state championship and won, defeating Brandon High School and all odds.
Cecil Hinds, head coach of the Madison Central boys soccer team since 2011 and girls soccer team since 2013, said the past season was “overcoming adversity,” due to very limited training over the past summer and being prohibited to practice on days school was out.
“Both the boys and girls soccer teams made it to the state championships in 6A, which is the highest division of soccer in high school,” Hinds said. “The boys were very fortunate to come out with a win and took the championship, and the girls unfortunately lost in the finals.”
Hinds said the season was very back and forth and hit or miss since Madison Central would sometimes be in session, and would other times be doing distanced and virtual learning, on top of players on the team needing to quarantine.
He said the soccer program has always been marked with hard work, determination and discipline.
“The Madison Central administration has done such a tremendous job for us athletically and academically,” he said. “These kids are being pushed to excel in their classes, which helps with their discipline on and off the field.”
Hinds said the most challenging part of the altered season was doing things more shortly and microscopically, which included conditioning along with the technical and tactical sides of each game.
He said the players adapted quickly to the changes, however, and succeeded in the face of adversity.
“We have many strong, determined athletes that hold their education in a very high regard,” he said. “We’re excited to have reached the pinnacle of soccer by winning the state championship. I consider myself very blessed to be here at Madison Central. I couldn’t be more excited for next season.”
Landon Parrow, the goalkeeper for the soccer team, is a junior at Madison Central and plans on returning to the team for next season. He said winning the state championship was nothing short of euphoric.
“It was the most exciting and accomplished feeling I’ve ever felt,” Parrow said.
He said for most of the team, they’ve grown up watching Madison Central soccer, went to summer camps as kids, and dreamed of one day winning the state championship themselves.
Parrow felt the most challenging part of the season was getting the team to play and think together on the field after not having as much time to form chemistry due to lost time over the summer. The best part, though, was winning the state championship.
“Coach Hinds told us all season to trust each other, and it’s something we eventually got a grasp of towards the end of the season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my senior season and leading the team to another state championship.”
Parker Layton, captain of the soccer team, will not be returning, being a senior, but he wanted Madison Central to know the team will be winning back-to-back championships next season.
“The boys on this team have been training like crazy to finally win a ring,” Layton said. “Training during the pandemic brought some problems regarding workouts and conditioning, but we made it through.”
Layton said the best part of the season was overcoming all the obstacles thrown at them during the season due to COVID and winning the championship with his team.
Winning the championship felt surreal for Will Farthing, a midfielder for the team and a junior at Madison Central. He said it takes a lot of skill to manage and discipline a high school team, and Hinds did his best for every moment of the season.
“What I appreciate most about this season is the desire to keep playing for the highest possible victory even when expectations point to defeat,” Farthing said.
Farthing said some moments are worth time, energy and sacrifice, and winning the championship was one of those moments.
“Coach Hinds has put in so much hard work for us,” he said. “However, we expect that he sacrificed even more than we realize.”