Yellow Jackets ready to kick off the season
The Yellow Jackets know where the improvement needs to come, and every chance they have had in preparing for the beginning of their schedule has been about producing better results in those places, most importantly on the scoreboard.
They had five losses by two goals or less. They scored three goals and lost. They allowed two goals and came up short. Consistency was tough to find on either end of the field.
Taking the first step towards better results comes as Denison starts its season with a trip to Farmersville at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
“If we’re better towards the end (of matches) and how we finish, our record looks a lot better. The kids see it. They understand that,” Denison head coach Scotty Voight said. “We talked to them at the end of last year about the potential they have and the opportunity in front of them. We’ve got a good group of leaders bringing the younger guys along.”
The Jackets ended last season at 2-13-3 overall and 0-7-1 in 10-5A play with three matches remaining when the coronavirus pandemic shut down and eventually cancelled the rest of the season. Eight of the losses were shutouts.
It was the second straight year Denison won just two matches, although it added two more ties to its ledger, but also went winless in district action, the fifth straight season that has occurred. It has been seven years since the program qualified for the playoffs.
“They know it’s a new season. Be the group that changes it. We played some good teams in the scrimmages and saw some things we need to work on,” Voight said. “We’re bringing up some sophomores, guys off JV and some freshmen that have some talent and potential. I’m excited about it.”
The Jackets will re-tool their lineup a bit. They lost Cameron Wright, a first-team all-district forward, Celso Longoria, who was honorable mention all-district at midfielder, Keghan Edgette, who was honorable mention all-district on defense, Jhonathan Tellez, Roothley Narcisse and Brian Gutierrez to graduation.
Then Keebler Wagoner and Landon Ellis, who returned to the sport for their junior seasons, are not back out this year. Wagoner was honorable mention all-district.
When it comes to the forward spots, the group will include senior Reece Stange, a three-year starter in the midfield, as well as classmate Josue Pavon and junior Logan Voight.
“We have some guys up top that have some experience there,” Voight said. “I think one of our pluses is speed.”
The trio can also contribute in the midfield.
Junior Ruben Delarosa was a second-team all-district midfielder but is moving to help anchor the defense.
“He’s not a selfish guy so he’s willing to drop back and do whatever is needed for the team,” Voight said.
Senior Tommy Prater returns and the defense will also include senior Kelan Becker, junior Kaiser Decker and sophomore Jordan Bello.
“We almost had to rebuild that whole back line,” Voight said. “We just need to gain experience there.”
There will be some younger options in the midfield. Sophomores Ervey Sanchez, Easau Martinez and Anthony Cruz are in the mix along with juniors John Dornstadter, Giovanni Garcia, Yadiel Sauceda and Asher Wagner.
“We’ve seen snippets of what those guys can do,” Voight said.
Freshmen Alan Chavez and Joseph Dornstadter could also contribute minutes as well.
At the keeper spot, the Jackets bring back senior Ryan Jenkins, who split time with Jesus Tello — an honorable mention all-district pick during his senior year, and will use two goalies again with the addition of sophomore Kanyon Ives.
“We’re excited about both of them,” Voight said. “They’re definitely going to split time until one of them rises above the other.”
In addition to competing in the Garland Tournament and hosting its own tournament once again, the Yellow Jackets have non-district matches against Melissa and Anna before beginning 10-5A play on Jan. 22.
Denison remained with the schools it had been with — Sherman, McKinney North, Lovejoy, Wylie East and Princeton — while Prosper Rock Hill and The Colony were added to the mix.
What: Denison at Farmersville
When: 5:30 p.m. Monday