OHS Brahman soccer players finding their footing

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Brahman boys soccer team has opened up their season with a 2-2 record after alternating wins and losses over their first four games.

The Brahmans won their season opener against Treasure Coast 2-0 on Nov. 13, before losing at home 3-0 against Fort Pierce Central on Nov. 16. Okeechobee then went on the road to beat Martin County 5-1 and lost to Dwyer 2-0 at home.

So far the Brahmans are winless at home while undefeated on the road.

Head coach Lonnie Sears thinks his players need more experience in order to be more consistent and start stacking wins.

The 2018-19 varsity Brahman soccer team. Top row from left to right: Enrique Velasquez, Jesus Mojica, Jonathan Najera, Gage Ingram, Aven Selph, Adrian Guerrero, Bryan Leal, Justin Comfort, Sebastian Chavez, Antonio Pineda, Adolfo Ponce De Leon and Antonio Vega. Bottom row from left to right: Carlos Herrera, Martin Mederos, Christian Hernandez, Zamir Duran, David Solorozano, Irvin Luviano, Angel Garcia, Pablo Betancurt, Alex Soriano and Heriberto Gutierrez. Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion.

“We’re just making one or two mistakes that are letting the other team score goals,” said Sears. “But we also get better as the year goes on, that always happens. We’re only four games into the season. We’ll get there. Our guys are not bad, they just aren’t getting it done yet.”

Against Dwyer some of that inexperience became evident during a rotation of players. Coach Sears sent in some of his second string to relieve some players that had been playing for the first half of the game and give them a rest. Shortly after the rotation was put in, a costly mistake was made that allowed Dwyer to go up 1-0 against the Brahmans.

Okeechobee Brahman soccer is coming off an appearance in the regional quarterfinal playoffs where they lost to Boynton Beach, 3-2. It was the first time Okeechobee boys soccer had made it to the regionals since 2011.

Okeechobee’s defense was formidable during their run to the playoff in 2017, with the Brahmans shutting out seven opponents last year.

“Things clicked for us last year,” said Sears of the Brahmans 2017 season. “We made a pretty good run. These guys play hard, you could see it against Dwyer. We played hard, but made two mistakes and they got two goals off of those mistakes. We just have to keep playing hard and fix those little mistakes, and we will. We have good leadership on the team this year and they really want it.”

Some of the leaders on the team that Sears expects to step up are Adolfo Ponce De Leon, Christian Hernandez, Sebastian Chavez and Gage Ingram just to name a few.

“All those guys were here last year,” said Sears. “They know what it takes to win the big games, we just need to tighten it up a little bit.”

The Brahman soccer team will get their chance to tighten things up a bit during their two-game home stand on the Okeechobee High School football field this week.

The Brahmans face Palm Beach Lakes at 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 and district rival Jensen Beach at 6 p.m. on Dec. 14.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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