Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Boys Soccer Alive, Kicking and Looking Ahead

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Boys Soccer Alive, Kicking and Looking Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird, Times-Union correspondent

The Keystone Heights boys soccer program is on the rise. The Indians rebounded from a 1-18 season last year to an 11-6-1 record this year. The highlight of the season was the Indians advancing to the final 16 of the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Keystone finished as the district runner-up after losing to Fort White 2-0 in the district title game. The Indians beat Pierson Taylor 2-1 after four overtimes and two sets of penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round before losing to Episcopal 3-0 in the semifinal round.

First-year coach Roger Lloyd lauded the team for various qualities that led to a benchmark season.

"The team showed a lot of heart and character," Lloyd said. "They got behind four or five times and they came back and won. They were a very skilled team from the standpoint of being able to head the ball effectively and being able to control the ball with their feet. They were a very clean, aggressive team."

After starting the season 3-3-1, the Indians won 9 of 12. Lloyd said he made an important offensive change around mid-season.

"We changed the formation from having offensive and defensive halfbacks to a stopper and or a sweeper with halfbacks," Lloyd said. "It allowed us to control the midfield. Once we changed our system, we were able to stop teams from shooting so much against us. Our team outshot our opponents on average 5-to-1."

The three top scorers were senior sweeper Brad Hapner and junior forwards Kevin McLeod and Brian McCullom.

"Brad is our best defender," Lloyd said. "He is one of the top 20 players in the state. He runs a 4.6 in the 40. When you have a young man who can run that fast, who has great ball control and can shoot a ball 90-100 miles per hour, you have a great player. Players say he kicks the ball so hard that it whistles when it goes past your ear."

Lloyd said he is trying to connect Hapner with some college coaches.

"He has no colleges looking at him because our program was not ranked," Lloyd said. "Within our own division we are one of the top 15 teams in the state. …

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