Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Hickman soccer coach leads Kewpies to district championship

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 8:03 p.m. CST
BY Mark Levitt

COLUMBIA — Hickman soccer coach Adam Taylor let out an exuberant cheer as he ran on the field jumping and spinning in circles, celebrating his team’s 1-0 victory Tuesday in the Class 3, District 9 semifinals at Hickman.

The win was a special one for Taylor. He and his team have been through a season full of change, highlighted by the resignation of former coach Larry Thornburg in the beginning of October. At the time, Taylor was an assistant on the coaching staff.

Senior forward George Plakorus, who scored the winner for Hickman, said it took some time for the team to adjust to its new coach.

“We had to go through the realization that he’s (Thornburg) not the coach anymore,” Plakorus said. “It took us a couple of practices to get used to the fact that coach Taylor is now our coach, and we need to pay attention and listen to what he has to say.”

Plakorus said he and his teammates were stunned when they first heard the news of Thornburg’s resignation. At the time, Taylor, 25, gathered the team and told them they had the control to determine the way the rest of the season played out.

“I just told them let’s move forward, whatever happened, happened,” Taylor said. “Whatever happens from this point on is the team you guys are going to make yourselves.”

The style of Hickman’s attack changed with its coach. Plakorus said Taylor incorporated more passing and movement. Players were also given more freedom to shoot the ball in more situations. Plakorus said he thinks the changes have improved the team.

Taylor said the hardest part about the switch from assistant to head coach were the little aspects. He now has to handle substitutions and decide when to do which drills during practices.

“There’s a lot of things you don’t do as an assistant coach that you do as a head coach,” Taylor said. “It’s a whole different world.”

Taylor brought his own coaching style to the Kewpies. Plakorus said that while the coach may be a big yeller during matches, he has a calm demeanor throughout practices. Taylor gives positive feedback, even when his players make mistakes.

While his demeanor may be calm, the young coach is a bundle of energy on the sidelines. At one point during the second half of Hickman’s victory over Rock Bridge on Tuesday, Taylor sprinted full speed down the sideline to contest a call he felt was wrong.

He refused to sit still throughout the match. He crouched. He stood up. He crossed his arms. He paced along the sideline. His body didn’t allow him to relax on the bench.

As the clock ticked down to under six minutes in the game, Taylor moved a few yards from his bench and crouched down by himself. He held on to his hair as Rock Bridge had opportunity after opportunity to score.

“I’m a young guy, but that’ll make you old, those last six minutes,” Taylor said. “We kept our composure.”

Taylor is the coach on an interim basis. He doesn’t know if he will hold the position beyond this year. But with a district championship game to be played Thursday, he’s not worrying about his future.

“We haven’t talked about that part of it yet,” Taylor said. “We’re focused on 2009 right now.”

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Driving Directions

  • WAYNESVILLE : Take 63 South Towards Jeff City. Take US-54 W thru Osage Beach to Camdenton. Take MO Hwy 5 South to Lebanon , MO.Continue on MO Hwy 5 South to I-44 E towards Waynesville, MO. Take Exit 156, toward WAYNESVILLE/FORT LEONARD WOOD. Turn LEFT onto HIGHWAY H/I-44-BL/MO-H. Continue to follow I-44-BL.Turn RIGHT onto MO-17/W I-44-BL.1001 HISTORIC 66 W.
  • QUINCY TOURNAMENT IN QUINCY ILLINOIS: From Columbia Take 70 West to Kingdom City. Take 54 North to Mexico and then 54 east and north (54/19) to Laddonia. From Laddonia take 19 North to New London and then 61 North to Hannibal. When you get to Hannibal, you will need to take a right at the sign that says Quincy or to Illinois or to Springfield which is hwy 72 across the river. You will then pick up Highway 172 north to Quincy. In Quincy take the Broadway exit and go left.The fields we are playing on are located on State Street. The streets in Quincy that run West to East are numbered streets. The Mississippi River is to the West and the street numbers get higher the further East you go. When you enter from highway 172 the first street you will see is 48th street. Go left. At State St turn right and the park is a few blocks on the right. The Paul Dennis Complex is located on State between 36th and 48th street.
  • JEFFERSON CITY- 179 SOCCER PARK: Take 63 to Jeff City. Across the river take Hwy 50 toward Sedalia. Take the hwy 179 exit and turn right onto 179. The soccer park is about 3 miles on your left.
  • DESMET High school from CBC High school (about 3 miles): leave CBC and turn left (east) onto N Forty Dr. Turn right onto Conway Rd. Follow Conway Rd to left at S New Ballas Rd and it is about 1.2 miles to the high school at 233 N. New Ballas Rd.
  • CBC High school in St Louis: about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take I-70 east to US40E/US61S just past Wentzville. Head toward Chesterfield/Forrest Park. About 23 miles to Mason Rd exit. Take S Mason Rd north back over the highway. Turn right on N. Forty Dr and the high school is on your left about a mile at 1850 De la Salle Dr.
  • CAMDENTON: Hwy 54 out of Jeff City to Hwy 5 in Camdenton. Turn left (east) on to Hwy 5. Continue on Hwy 5 for 5 or 6 blocks and can see the school campus on your left (north side of road). Turn on to Dare Blvd and the stadium is a block or two behind the schools.
  • SMITHTON TOURNAMENT: I-70 west to Booneville. Exit on Hwy 5 south. From Hwy 5 take Hwy 50 west. Go to Hwy W and turn south. Follow Hwy W into Smithton. Turn east on to E. Washington St. (I think this is a continuation of Hwy W), Turn right (south) on to Myrtle Ave and the school is 550 Myrtle Ave. Games are at the school.
  • ROLLA: Hwy 63 out of Jefferson City. Continue on Hwy 63 into Rolla. Turn left (east) on to 10th St. Continue on 10th St about 8 blocks to N. Cedar St. High School is at corner of N. Cedar and 10th St. Soccer field is behind the high school.