The big guy in the back, Most Inspirational and Most Valuable goalkeeper Tom Crosby (127 saves), has moved on to Colorado College soccer where he's training this week.
Yet the Community School boys' varsity soccer team still has the turnout (35 players) and the talent (11 seniors, most of its defense back) to make another run at the High Desert Soccer Conference title and a return to the State 3A tourney.
That's the feeling of 21st-year coach Richard Whitelaw. "We've had an encouraging turnout and we'd like to hope we'll be in the mix. We'll have to work hard at it," he said.
With Crosby manning the net and surrendering only 19 goals in 19 games, the Cutthroats turned it around in 2011 after three straight sub-.500 seasons and earned the program's third State 3A consolation championship in six years.
The Cutthroats (12-5-2 last fall, 9-1-1 league) beat Fruitland 2-1 in overtime for the consolation title and vastly improved on their road record (6-1-2). State winner for the first time was Snake River 5-0 over Teton, with Filer Wildcats third.
Putting the ball in the net, however, is the main thing that has kept the Cutthroats from their once-dominant position atop the High Desert. It's been four long seasons since Whitelaw's squads have won the league—Filer winning last year, Wendell in 2010 and 2008, and Bliss taking it in 2009.
Last year, for instance, the Cutthroats scored 42 goals in 19 games. In their last HDSC title season of 2007, a remarkable 17-1-1 campaign led by the scoring of Travis Stone and Tanner Flanigan, the Cutthroats doubled that with 84 in 19 games.
About his current group, Whitelaw said, "Our concern is someone to score goals and be creative in the middle of the park. We won't be relying on one person. It gives everyone a chance to step up," he said.
Senior co-captain Ben Kanellitsas (3 goals last season) is now up front with junior Bobby Corker. The Community School graduated its leading scorers Will Brokaw (12 goals) and Cassidy Carson (6), now playing for Westminster College.
Midfielders are Cameron Jenner, Roger Figge, Jay Fitzgerald, Mason Noyes, Logan Shipley, Will Harder, Tom Gillespie and Keegan Whitelaw.
Senior co-captain Zach Lindahl at center back leads a potentially powerful defense that includes senior Calder Zarkos. Jack Swanson and Perry Boyle.
Goalkeeper is 6-3 senior Christopher Nalen, who attended Holderness last year, backed by sophomore Willis Sanchez duPont. Coach Whitelaw is assisted by Hannes Thum and Bob Brock.
The league gets only two State 3A tournament berths this year compared to three last year. Whitelaw expects Gooding and Wendell to provide their usual challenges.
Head coach—Richard Whitelaw (21st season, 220-102-32).
Assistant coaches—Bob Brock and Hannes Thum.
Seniors (11)—Cole Caulkins, Timo Gould, Charlie Harder, Cameron Jenner, Chase Josey, co-captain Ben Kanellitsas, co-captain Zach Lindahl, Christopher Nalen, Mason Noyes, Logan Shipley and Calder Zarkos.
Juniors (7)—Bobby Corker, Ethan Kjesbo, Nick Krekow, Sam Rogers, Reed Roudabush, Ben Swift and Nick Wright.
Sophomores (9)—Perry Boyle, George Everitt, Roger Figge, Trenor Gould, Will Harder, Tanner Josey, Willis Sanchez-duPont, Jack Swanson and Jake Whitlock.
Freshmen (8)—Henry Everitt, Alex Feldman, Jay Fitzgerald, Tom Gillespie, Cole Miller, Garrett Rawlings, Alex Schwartz and Keegan Whitelaw.