MOULTRIE – When the Colquitt County boys soccer teams lines up to play Lee County at noon today in its annual preseason scrimmage, Coach Rob Craft hopes to begin a process that will overcome one of the team’s biggest problems last year.

“We’d love to come out and steal a few games this year,” Craft said. “Last year, there were times when we just couldn’t find a way to win.”

The Packers went 7-9 last year and were 6-8 in the region. Four of their losses were by one goal and their top scorer from 2009, D.J. Vanzant, has graduated.

But Craft believes his team has a chance to be involved in the region race this season.

“We have high expectations,” Craft said. “We expect to play well. And if we do, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

Offense was the team’s problem last year and Craft hopes to be able to score by committee this season.

Junior Bret Holden, a second-team All-Region 1-AAAAA selection in 2009, is back after being the team’s second-leading scorer last season.

“He is definitely capable of scoring,” Craft said. “He’s got a good skill set.”

But Craft also is hoping to get some punch from senior Josue Mundo, sophomore Carlos Bautista, senior Josh Hoes and, when he returns after performing with the Packers wrestling team, junior Jose Zunun.

Bautista received honorable mention on the All-Region team last year as a freshman.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play up front,” Craft said.

One thing that Craft will watch closely today is the play of his keepers. Junior Damien Bentley and seniors Victor Guerra and Ashley Mead are battling for the position. All three will get plenty of minutes in the nets today.

There is little experience in the group.

Mead, the outstanding snapper on the football team, has never played soccer before, but has been impressive at times with his athleticism.

“All three have different styles,” Craft said. “We may go with whoever is hot at the time.”

In the midfield, the Packers are expected to start Bautista, sophomore David Juarez, senior Gustavo Zapote and junior Daniel Moreno. Juniors Octavio Carranza and Gian Rodriguez and senior Carlos Gonzalez also will get some looks there.

Craft is working on a new-look defense this season.

Senior Tyler Dismuke and junior Rich Tyndall have been moved to the back and both are expected to provide immediate help.

Craft said Dismuke has the speed and athleticism he is looking for, but is still learning.

Junior Tanner White also is expected to be in the back and senior Fernando Luna returns to his stopper role. Junior Augustin Malagon will sub in on defense.

Seniors Saul Garcia and Giovanny Rico-Garcia complete the varsity roster.

A new addition to the program is Justin Harrison, the former Packer who will be Craft’s varsity assistant.

“I was pretty excited when he said he was coming back and then said he would like to help out,” Craft said. “He was a good player here and the kids are responding well to him.”

The Packers will not have long to get ready for the season following today’s scrimmage.

The season opens with a home match against Lowndes on Tuesday.

“It will be a tough opener,” Craft said. “They were young last year when we split with them.”

Craft said Coffee and Valdosta should be improved in the region this year, but that he expects Houston County and Warner Robins to again the favorites.

“But I feel that with our skill, there is no reason we can’t be involved in who wins the region this year,” Craft said.

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