It's been 45 years since The Four Seasons first recorded the rock song "Working My Way Back to You."
After three seasons during which scoring goals and winning on the road have been a mighty struggle, Community School boys' soccer coach Richard Whitelaw may think it's been 45 seasons and not just four since the Cutthroats have been to the State 3A tourney.
It hasn't been that long, of course. Whitelaw's teams went to state eight times in nine years ending with the excellent 17-1-1 squad of 2007. That team won the State 3A consolation championship for the second straight year and scored 84 goals in 19 games.
Yet in the three years since, Cutthroat teams have scored a grand total of 84 goals in 51 games including three consecutive sub-par seasons of 4-8-5, 5-9-4 and 6-9-1—and only six wins to show for their 29 road games.
That kind of record shouldn't get you to state competition. Locked in the fourth or fifth seed, the Cutthroats have stayed at home at state tournament time as the High Desert Soccer Conference has steadily strengthened with an influx of Latino players.
Whitelaw, assisted again this year by Hannes Thum and Bob Brock, said, "There's been parity in our league the last four or five years. The Latino revolution has made our league stronger. Every game is a tight affair."
The last two State 3A champions have come from the seven-team HDSC of south-central Idaho. Wendell (18-1-0) captured its first state title 3-1 over 2007 winner Bonners Ferry (17-4-0) last October in Twin Falls, and the Gooding Senators won their first crown in 2009.
Yet the Cutthroats have been making steady progress. Their group of seven returning seniors and a bulked-up turnout of 25 players have 20th-year head coach Whitelaw (208-97-30) thinking that the Cutthroats are definitely working their way back to the state soccer tournament.
"The core of the team is our seniors and they will set the tone. They realize that none of the players in our program have been to a state tournament, and they are all striving for that goal," said Whitelaw. "With strong seniors, you can go a long way."
You can also go a long way with a strong senior goalkeeper. Sun Valley may have the best in the league in Tom Crosby (5 shutouts in 2010).
Crosby and returning defender Zach Lindahl, a junior, made All-HDSC last fall. Senior back Colin Waycott and junior back Calder Zarkos will join Lindahl in keeping the balls and attacks away from Crosby. The Cutthroats will play a 3-5-2, Whitelaw said, with three defenders and five midfielders.
Returning after a year back east is senior striker Will Brokaw, who Whitelaw describes as having great touch and the ability to score with either foot.
"It's good having Will back, definitely a highlight," said Whitelaw. Junior Mason Noyes will be stationed up front with Brokaw, trying to improve upon the 21 goals in 16 games scored by last year's squad.
Seniors—Will Brokaw, Cassidy Carson, Tom Crosby, Cooper Hanley (knee injury, due back mid-season), Tim Kanellitsas, Eric Runkel and Colin Waycott.
Juniors—Charlie Harder, Cameron Jenner, Ben Kanellitsas, Zach Lindahl, Mason Noyes, Logan Shipley, Calder Zarkos and Chase Josey.
Sophomores—Bobby Corker and Nick Wright.
Freshmen—Willis Sanchez-duPont, Jack Swanson, George Everitt, Roger Figge, Will Harder, Gavin Shipley, Tanner Josey and Perry Boyle.