Greg Jordan is excited about making history. Now, he wants to create a new perception.
After years of falling short, Shoemaker is set to participate in the playoffs for the first time in program history today, facing District 7-6A champion Grand Prairie.
While the Grey Wolves head coach is trying to make sure his players enjoy the accomplishment, he also intends to use the milestone as a springboard to higher expectations.
“We are trying to foster an environment where everybody is used to being successful,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into a mindset that nobody expects you to win, so you don’t.
“We want to change that and feel like we have every chance of going to the playoffs every year. I think this is the first step toward that.”
With a core of junior players, who have spent years together on the field, Shoemaker put together an impressive season en route to the playoffs, delivering signature performances by tying Belton and defeating fellow District 8-6A power Waco Midway.
While it took a total team effort for the Grey Wolves to break through to the postseason, Vance Brown led the way offensively, while goalkeeper Everett Estell anchors the defense.
After moving from the midfield to forward, Brown excelled, recording more than 20 goals to lead the team, and Estell emerged from the shadow of teammate David Natu, who was named the 2017 8-6A All-District Goalkeeper of the Year, to shine on his own.
Additionally, team captain Darnyell Parker provides the Grey Wolves’ leadership along with producing double-digit goals this season.
And Shoemaker has plenty of young talent to complement the standouts with two freshmen and three sophomores starting.
“We’ve just got a really solid group,” Jordan said. “But we’ve got to come out and play an aggressive game against Grand Prairie.”
Although Shoemaker is new to the postseason environment, the Gophers are growing accustom to the setting, reaching the playoffs in two of the last four years.
This season, Grand Prairie easily qualified, posting a 16-3- 4 overall record thanks in part to the talents of 11 seniors.
“It’s going to be a clash of two different styles,” Jordan said. “They’re going to be very technically sound, solid and very disciplined.
“We play more of an aggressive attacking style.”
Regardless of how long the Grey Wolves’ first playoff appearance lasts, Jordan is confident his team is prepared for the challenge. So, until the match begins at 4 p.m. inside Waco ISD Stadium, he hopes they continue to savor the achievement.
“For me,” Jordan said, “this is just awesome, and as a coach, you hope for these type of things.
“So, I’m enjoying this, and the kids seem to be enjoying all the pageantry that comes along with the playoffs. We’re all just pretty stoked.”
6A BOYS SOCCER PLAYOFFS
- Shoemaker vs. Grand Prairie, 4 p.m. (Waco ISD Stadium)
MEET THE GREY WOLVES
1 Everett Estell
2 Alec Larkin
4 Brandal Orona
5 Akim Berry
6 Vincent Capestany
7 Vincent Nautu
8 Xavier Berger
9 Frances Atalig
10 Darnyell Parker
11 Andweli Powell
12 Anthony Ford
13 Derrick Balseca
14 Vance Brown
15 Dwayne Giltug
16 Montez Burt
17 Xavier Kelley
18 Tommy Ayala
27 Xavier Berger
Head Coach Greg Jordan