One of the best net goalkeepers in the area is excelling at the other end of the field.
Houston County senior Kyle Clodfelter moved out of goal to striker at the beginning of the season. The results have been encouraging.
After an season-opening loss to Upson-Lee, the Bears had won four straight entering last night’s home game with Tift County. They were 4-0 in GHSA Region 1-AAAAA and alone in first place after averaging more than three goals per game.
It was Clodfelter’s smart cross that set up Patrick Braxton for the Bears first goal in a 3-0 win over rival Warner Robins on March 9. He has two goals and an assist on the season.
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Clodfelter plays striker with his club team, but this season marks his first in that role for Houston County.
“We spoke with him before the year about the upcoming year. He expressed an interest in trying out at forward,” Houston County coach Heath Burch wrote in e-mail. “Since we had two good keepers and not many forwards I told him we would give it a try. It has worked out well for us this year. He is getting better and better every game.”
Houston County is keeper-rich thanks to goalies Conner Terry and Zac Bradley. Their play has eased Clodfelter’s transition.
Brown tops in 1-AAAAA
Northside senior Tai Brown was selected as the GHSA Region 1-AAAAA girls basketball player of the year in a vote of the league’s coaches. Jay Rome of Valdosta earned top honors for the boys.
“It means a lot to me,” Brown said. “There hasn’t been a lot of hype ... People can see you are somebody and you can work hard to get somewhere.”
Brown solidified her selection with her play in the 1-AAAAA tournament. She averaged 22 points in two games, leading the Lady Eagles to comeback wins in both the semifinals and finals. Northside went 16-0 against region competition.
Joining Brown as girls first-team selections were Daniel Gazaway (Warner Robins); Umeika Henry (Colquitt County); Keira Peak (Lowndes); Amanda Harper (Lowndes) and Veneeshia Palk (Coffee).
In addition to Rome, the first-team boys were Greg Fields (Northside); Trevis Simpson (Coffee); Nathaniel Hill (Colquitt County); Robert Powell (Lowndes) and Justin Sanders (Coffee).
LaDarria Clark and Chan Fann of Northside were tabbed for the girls second-team and honorable mention, respectively. T.S. Whitmore of Warner Robins and Buddy Bivins of Houston County were named to the boys second team.
Casaundra Wilson of region-champion Northside was named the conference’s girls coach of the year. Kingston Clark of Lowndes received the award on the boys side.
Living on the edge
Through its first five matches, the record for the Northside boys soccer team stood at 3-2. The Eagles could just as easily be undefeated. And too, they could just as easily been winless.
Northside had a goal differential of plus-one through those five games. Each was decided by a single goal. Two of the games — a win and a loss — were decided in overtime. One went to penalty kicks.
Bad weather is playing havoc with local sports schedules, forcing frequent postponements and several flat cancellations. Opening Day ceremonies for Warner Robins American Little League were washed out Saturday. The event won’t be made up because the season was set to begin Monday.
Beyond the lost games, practices have been spotty at best, although as Warner Robins head baseball coach Bill Beatty said, “it’s the same for everybody.”
But in baseball, not everybody has the same pitching depth. In soccer, not all teams have the same depth of talent through the bench. If postponements lead to a pile of games on the back end of schedules, look for the deepest teams to float to the top of the standings in their respective regions.