Just for ‘10’ gel: Capped by Rakoczy goal, Argos boys soccer extends sectional dominance
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS –- The Argos boys soccer team might just be starting to pick up the pace. It’s happening just in time in their chase for back-to-back Class 1A state championships.
Teddy Redinger scored twice in less than a minute in the first half, and Jake Stults also scored twice as the Dragons won the Class 1A, Sectional 36 title on their home turf at Eugene Snyder Field with a 7-0 win Saturday night.
Michael Richard, Ben Rangel and Caleb Rakoczy also scored for No. 1 Argos (15-3-1). Redinger, Richard, Cam Markley, Caden Nifong, Gabe Stone and Coleman Fishburn each added an assist.
Argos, who won their 10th straight sectional, had a 20-0 advantage in shots on goal.
“It feels great,” Stults said. “It’s our 10th time. It’s just something we’ve worked for hard this season. That’s our main focus.”
Said Redinger: “It feels great. We worked really hard for this. I just look forward to playing next week in the regional.”
Max Murray had 13 saves for Winamac, who finished 6-9-1.
Argos will also host the regional this Saturday. Westview and Kouts will meet in the first semifinal at 10 a.m., and Argos and Morgan Township will follow at approximately noon.
The winners return at 7 p.m. for the regional final.
No. 17 Kouts is the only other ranked team in the regional.
The prettiest goal might have been Rangel’s goal with 30:09 left in the game as he flew in to accept a Redinger cross and made it 5-0.
Stults’ goal after a Murray bobble made it 6-0 with 19:48 left.
But the most celebrated goal might have been Rakoczy’s goal with 19 seconds left off a Fishburn feed. Rakoczy slid a shot under Murray to cap the scoring.
“It feels great,” Richard said. “To celebrate with the guys and then with Rakoczy scoring, it makes it all better. … I think it would probably be the highlight of my career.”
Redinger finished a Cam Markley corner kick with a header with 30:24 left in the first half.
“I just found the ball and headed it,” Redinger said. “I saw the keeper move this way, and I headed it back to the right in the far corner. … We don’t really practice corners, but we practice them before the game, like five minutes before the game.”
Forty-four seconds later, Redinger scored again off a Michael Richard assist.
“I saw Mike take a free kick, and I knew that he was going to have a shot on goal, so I just followed it, and I was in the right place at the right time,” Redinger said.
Redinger’s two early goals might have taken the starch out of an energetic Winamac start.
“To be honest with you, we just tried to stay in the system we’ve been playing all year,” Winamac coach Chad Burton said. “We just emphasized making sure we were marking up better in the box. But, giving up the first goal in the corner, and I think we were still shell-shocked because they scored within a minute and gave up a second. Luckily, they tended to regroup and made them work for the other goals, but once that first one went in and the second one, we realized we were already down 2-0. We tried not to change the system. We just tried to play it better. And Argos is just a quality team. … They understand what they’re doing when they have the ball and where their teammates are going. And they communicate that well. They can make a pass and understand when they get it deep, they’re going to cross it, and they know someone’s going to be there. They don’t have to think about it or wait for someone to get there. They already know someone’s already going to make that run. … That comes from familiarity with each other and the system they’re running. You can tell they’ve been playing for awhile.”
Richard made it 3-0 with 7:57 left in the half. Stults’ goal at the 4:36 mark made it 4-0 as Argos used rapid-fire passing to try to break down the packed-in Winamac box.
“We’re trying to,” Argos coach Todd VanDerWeele said when asked if the team is playing at a faster pace. “We’ve been inconsistent when it comes to that all year. The last time I thought we were consistent before the sectional was against NorthWood in our invitational (on Sept. 12). And even against Bethany Christian and the (Culver) Academy last week, against the Academy the first half our pace was slow. The second half, we played a lot faster, in fact, probably faster than we’ve played all year. And then I thought even against North Miami Monday (an 11-0 Argos win in the sectional quarterfinals), it was kind of off, but I thought against Caston (a 7-0 win in the sectional semifinals Wednesday) we played faster, and tonight, I loved our pace. It doesn’t always work out for us, but it keeps the other team on edge so much. To have Gabe Stone run at you full speed, Mike Richard full speed, Ted Redinger full speed, it’s hard to deal with.”
Argos also eliminated Winamac 3-0 in the 2019 sectional. VanDerWeele noticed Winamac’s energy and effort at the start.
“I think that’s the kind of energy level that any coach would want to start a championship game,” VanDerWeele said. “I expected them to be organized, which they were. And I expected them to be energized, but not to the level they were. Hats off to them. They came ready to play tonight. And of course that level dropped off a little bit, but they played hard all night long.”
Winamac improved from one win last year to six wins this year.
“As a whole, we’ve been able to adapt,” Burton said. “We’ve figured out you don’t always have to score five goals to win. And for a lot of the season, we had six or seven shutouts on the year, which is probably one of our highs in a long time. So they realize the defense is, if you shore that up, and capitalize on the opportunities that you get, then you’re going to be in games, and you’re going to be able to win games. I think them understanding that part of it sets us up for success going forward.”
The feeling of winning a sectional never gets old, according to VanDerWeele.
“At this point in time now that it’s over, you realize what went into it,” VanDerWeele said. “And every sectional is different, but for every one of them that we have won, we’ve had to work hard, we’ve had to be ready, we’ve had to do things that we do. They don’t just happen. No team has ever just given (it to) us.”
If Argos wins the regional, they will move up to Class 2A for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, per the IHSAA Success Factor.
The Argos boys soccer team celebrates with the trophy at Eugene Snyder Field following their 7-0 win over Winamac in the Class 1A, Sectional 36 final Saturday. Argos has won 10 consecutive sectional titles. The No. 1 Dragons will host the regional and play Morgan Township at approximately noon this Saturday in the regional semifinals. If Argos wins, they will play either Kouts or Westview at 7 p.m. in the regional final.