Prep boys' soccer: Expectations to soar for Summit Academy
The way Austin Farr sees it, there are two types of goal scorers.
There are finesse players, those who can outmaneuver the defense and create their own shots. And there are poachers, players who put themselves in the right place to clean up a mess.
Farr falls squarely into the latter category and isn't ashamed to admit it.
"I like to work off of other players and make runs to where when I got the ball, I have to take one player on or just take the goalkeeper on," said Farr, a Summit Academy junior who scored 17 goals in 16 games this season. "On about 85 percent of my goals, I was standing in front of the goal and somebody feeds me the ball. I literally didn't have to do a whole lot of work."
Farr accomplished his goal of averaging a goal per game with plenty of help from his teammates, most notably midfielders Tate Stroud and Kennedy Alder. Farr said "about 98 percent" of his goals during the Bears' first varsity season were set up by Stroud and Alder.
"I did the last two percent by standing there and putting it in the back of the net," Farr said. "Kennedy is a phenomenal player, and Tate is an awesome midfielder. I felt very comfortable with them this year."
Farr set the pace for an offense that outscored opponents 52-16 and for a young Summit Academy team that nearly did the unthinkable. The Bears, with just one senior on their roster, fell one game short of playing in the Class 2A state championship game last weekend.
The charter school played under junior varsity status in 2012 before moving to varsity this season.
The Bears' run â 13 wins in 16 games â even surprised coach Troy Stroud, who knew his team was talented, but was unsure how much youth would hold it back.
He got his answer in mid-April, when the Bears bounced back from their only Region 2A Central loss (1-0 to defending champ St. Joseph's) with three consecutive shutouts.
"We had a lot of questions to answer through the season, and we kept checking those questions off as we got deeper and deeper into the season," Stroud said. "When we got close to St. Joe's and knowing how they finished last season, we thought we might have a possibility [at state]."
Farr's brother Matthew, a freshman, recorded seven shutouts at goalkeeper and played beyond his years for most of the season.
"He's confident and comfortable in what he does," Austin Farr said. "Obviously there's nerves being a freshman, but he is one of the best goalkeepers I've played with or against.
"I distinctly remember against Rowland Hall the ball was rolling around in the box and it was just mayhem. Somebody whipped it right into the corner and Matthew stuck his foot out and kicked it out. I remember going, 'Are you kidding me? Really? My brother just did that?' "
The Bears' season ended one victory shy of an appearance at Rio Tinto Stadium though, when a veteran American Leadership Academy team exploited Summit's youth in a 4-1 semifinal decision.
Farr said the experience of reaching the semifinals and the work the players are prepared to do during the summer and fall sets up Summit for greater success next season.
Stroud knows the bar has been set incredibly high for the upstart program.
"They came in young and were able to do what they did," Stroud said. "Expectations for next year will be high, no doubt."
Shy of the Summit
Summit Academy reached the boys' soccer semifinals in its first year of varsity.
The Bears went 13-3 despite playing with a freshman goalkeeper and just one senior on the roster.
Junior Austin Farr was among the state leaders with 17 goals and sophomore Zach Stanford scored eight goals for Summit, which lost to ALA in the Class 2A semifinals last week.