Broughton went 14 games without a loss to start the 2014 season. There were two ties before that setback, which was to Sanderson, but the majority of the season the Capitals dominated.
Broughton finished the season with 20 wins and came up just short of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A title, falling to Reagan, 1-0.
With five returning starters to the defending Cap-8 Conference championship team and a tough schedule, coach Nicholas Wheeler expects another big season in 2015.
“I believe the fellas are looking forward to defending their Cap-8 title and can’t wait to get the regular season started,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler will lean on his returning starters Hya A, Abdulle Ibrahim and Ibrahim Mohamud, and captains Bryant O’Neal, Grant Tyler and Elvis Wiredu for a return to glory.
Mohamud and Wiredu each scored 10 goals last season for the Caps. Wiredu had seven assists, and Mohamud added five. Defense was the name of the game for Broughton, as they pitched five shutouts in 2014, including two in the playoffs.
Sanderson figures to once again be a team to give Broughton fits. Last season the Spartans tied with the Caps and handed Broughton its only loss in conference play.
“To me the Cap-8 is one of the strongest conferences in the state,” Wheeler said. “The last place team can beat the first place team on any given night. I am expecting a dogfight every night in Cap-8 games again this year.”
Dogfight is right.
While they sported an impressive record, Broughton had to scratch and claw for each win. Other than a 5-0 win over Wake Forest, the Caps’ average margin of victory was two goals. To prep for the tough Cap-8, Broughton will play a grueling non-conference schedule that includes Garner and defending 3A champion Cardinal Gibbons. They will also have a rematch against Reagan on Sept. 26 at the Millbrook East vs. West showcase.
“I don’t think too many teams will be playing two of last year’s state championship teams,” Wheeler said.
The non-conference slate also includes SWAC heavy weights Holly Springs and Panther Creek.
Heritage (13-8-2, 9-4-1) racked up 76 goals a year ago. Logan Shytle scored 22 goals for the Huskies and is returning to lead the pack. Broughton ended the Huskies’ season in the playoffs last year.
Sanderson (13-9-3, 7-6-1) must replace 11 seniors from above .500 playoff team while Leesville Road (10-9-2, 7-5-2) went 3-5-2 in the last 10 games of the season after a decent start.
Enloe (10-12, 6-8) is coming back after six of its wins in 2014 were shutouts.
Millbrook (9-12-1, 6-8) has 10 players returning who at least one goal in 2014, led by Jesus Sanchez Robellar (8). Wrenn Pallas led the team with eight assist a year ago, returns for senior season.
Marcus Shenker-Tauris scored six goals as a sophomore for Wakefield (10-10-2, 5-8-1) and returns as the top scorer for the Wolverines. Of the nine players who scored goals last season, four return.
Wake Forest (3-19-1, 1-14-0) had only three wins a year ago, and the Cougars must also replace 10 seniors.
OTHER AREA SCHOOLS
Athens Drive (8-12, 4-10): Quinn Garrett and Ben Williams are among the returning players for Athens Drive, which is now coached by Jeff Nelson.
Cardinal Gibbons (24-2-1, 12-2): Fifteen Crusaders return from last year’s 3A state championship team, including seven starters. Zach Clements, Jack Donovan and Drew Rabil were the top scorers last year and will return as Cardinal Gibbons plays its first season in 4A division PAC-6. The midfield will be lead by seniors Luke Ritsema and Jacob Pleasents and Sam Millikan, who return back to the team from the RailHawks Academy. The defense will be anchored by senior and four-year letterman Nick Vorobiov, along with Danny Gigliotta, Conor Shaw and Cam Stutts.
Franklin Academy (17-4-2, 14-2): Franklin fell in the third round of 1A playoffs last season and lost five seniors from its 24-man roster.
Friendship Christian (14-5-2, 8-1): Leaders Andrew Peterson (27 goals) and Andrew Garner (55 saves) will be back as seniors.
Grace Christian School (5-2-3, 3-0-1): The Eagles will host Rocky Mount Academy in their season opener.
N. Raleigh Christian (15-3-1, 7-1): North Raleigh Christian will open its season at Greensboro Day.
Neuse Christian Academy (3-4, 3-3): The Lions open their season at Raleigh Christian Academy.
Ravenscroft (11-8-2, 4-2-2): The Ravens host Friendship in their season opener.
Rolesville (0-22, 0-14): Coach James Overman says he’s optimistic the Rams can find wins in the school’s first season with seniors. Forward Shaphaun Parchue and midfielder Paul Okeke and junior captains Wes Pritzlaff and Hans Bierer should lead.
Raleigh Charter (22-5-1, 16-0): The defending conference champion fell to eventual state champion Wallace-Rose Hill in the regional finals. Colin Bronack (38 saves) and captains Tyler Foland (22 goals) and John Reeves will return.
Raleigh Christian Academy (7-6, 4-5): The Eagles host Neuse Christian Academy to open the season.
Southeast Raleigh (7-12, 6-8): The Bulldogs were solid competitors in their first season under Coach Derek Teel. Returning leaders are junior center midfielder Andy Chupin, who led the team in scoring, and outside midfielders Josue DeLeon and Cesar Gaiten
St. David’s School: This year’s roster features six seniors.
Trinity Academy(11-5-2, 7-0-1): They start the season as the defending conference champion.
Wake Christian (2-9-2, 0-8): The Bulldogs open at Friendship.