|Potts, Rodriguez know their roles on Wildcats district champion soccer team|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 24, 2005 - Going down the list of goal scorers for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, you won't see the names of Hunter Potts or Victor Rodriguez. But, neither is complaining.
Potts, a starter at left fullback, and Rodriguez, who comes off the bench at a couple of positions, know their roles for the district-champion Wildcats.
For Potts, that means giving up any goal-scoring opportunities by playing defense - and he wouldn't want it any other way. He is part of an SSHS back line that has allowed just half-a-goal per game in District 13-4A play.
Defense will be even more important for the Wildcats as they begin the playoffs next week against the bi-district winner between Whitehouse and Henderson. The Wildcats (20-6) won 20 games for the first time in school history and are currently on a 14-game winning streak.
During those 14 games, SSHS has given up just seven regulation goals.
"For most of my life, I played forward until probably I started high school, then I started playing defender. I like it a lot better than forward," Potts said. "I really like defense better because you keep the other team from scoring, and you help your team in the back by playing good balls and you assist in goals more than you score."
That attitude, along with Potts' physical nature, is what makes him such a positive leader, said SSHS head coach Andy Holt.
"Hunter is one of those guys that leads by example," Holt explained. "He's not real vocal. He just comes out and does his job. He does a great job of leading by example and does a great job on the field for us."
Potts, the son of Kim and Doyle Potts, was a wide receiver on the football team and also runs track. The weight training and speed work have given him a physicalness that allows him to control offensive players and take them out of their comfort zone.
"He does a great job of bodying people up, and that's what you need to have in the back, not letting guys turn and do what they want," Holt said. "Hunter's always there in the mix, making the play."
At the beginning of the season, Holt wasn't sure who would be at left fullback. Brody Dyer played there last year, and is now playing college soccer.
"Hunter's stepped in this year and played really well for us. It was a question mark coming into the season, but Hunter has done an outstanding job," Holt said. "You never question whether he's going to give you 100 percent."
Rodriguez, likewise, is characterized as a hard worker. He has ran cross country the last two years as a way to get in shape for the soccer season, and finished 11th at the district meet, helping the Wildcats to a second-place team finish.
He notched a goal in the Wildcats' win over Liberty-Eylau, and Holt can use him at either the outside mid position or at forward because of his versatility.
"I like ball control and passing to teammates, finding an open space to get the ball to my teammates," Rodriguez said. "Soccer's my favorite sport, and I've been practicing since I was a little kid.
"It doesn't really matter what position I play. I just play whatever position I play."
With injuries taking out two Wildcat starters for a large chunk of the district schedule, Rodriguez's consistency off the bench has been valued by Holt.
"Vic has a great work ethic and attitude," said Holt, who is also the cross country coach. "That's the same way he's been for cross country and track."