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YOUTH MOVEMENT: Freshmen class to anchor Vikes in ’24

Posted on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 12:54 pm

Post Photo by Chris Siers Viking head coach Jesse Cooper huddles up with his team following a recent practice.

Post Photo by Chris Siers Community works through a scrimmage during practice. The Vikings will lean on a 12-man freshman class this season.

When the Community Vikings graduated nine seniors from a year ago, coach Jesse Cooper knew his team would have some big holes to fill on the roster.
Luckily for the Vikings, a talented group of freshmen are poised to help build something special over the next several seasons for Community.
“We’re young. We have a lot of young, fresh legs. We’ll be experienced in the next couple of years. This freshman group is pretty good. I remember watching them in middle school and I was excited to get them this coming year,” he said.
Community boasted a 9-5-1 overall record a season ago, but came up just short in the District 6-A championship against Forrest.
With such a large class having graduated from last year, Cooper and the Vikings have put the time and effort in during the offseason to prepare for this week’s season opener.
“We’ve been conditioning since November. It’s a work in progress. We lost a lot of starters from last year and we have a lot of young guys we’re coaching up,” he said.
With 12 freshmen on the roster, a handful of players have made a strong impression during the preseason and Cooper will lean on several of those younger players to lead the Purple and Gold in 2024.
“Alejandro Catalan will be starting for us in midfield. Tyler Rogers will be starting for us at the wing. Carter Daniel will probably be starting for us on defense. Potentially, one of my freshman goalkeepers, Bryalon Persons, may be starting. There’s five or six freshmen that will get significant playing time this year,” Cooper said.
While the typical bumps in the road with a large group of underclassmen is expected, Cooper has high hopes and expectations for this group to have a strong freshman campaign to help lay the building blocks for the next several years.
“Once you get a taste of success you want to work harder and harder to go further the next year. You want to build on it and not just settle. If we have success this year, hopefully that will want to push them when they’re sophomores and they’ll become the leaders of the team,” he said.
Community opens the 2024 season against MTCS on Tuesday and will close the week at Marshall County on Thursday.