Elkin Coach Heath Foster expects as many as “six or seven” freshmen or sophomores to crack his starting 11 this fall.
“We lost eight seniors,” Foster said Thursday, adding four of them played “crucial spots.”
While the Buckin’ Elks will be young, Foster doesn’t think it’s a bad thing. “A couple of years from now that will be great,” he said.
Foster added his team should “be good in the midfield and up top. We’re going to be young defensively in a couple of spots, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt us.”
Elkin will need its young players to relax, Foster said. “Some of the younger kids are making mistakes,” he said. “I think it’s just because they’re out with older kids.”
The schedule will test Elkin early. They have three road games in three days this week and Foster is concerned about his team’s fitness. “I feel like we’re behind,” he said. “Concepts and skills are there, but I think they’re behind on fitness.”
It won’t help that the practices have been in relatively cool weather for early August and the games this week will be played in typical hot and humid conditions.
Foster said his team is “working hard. Young kids are stepping up, filling roles. I expect a good season. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that at first.”
Another pleasant surprise has been depth. “With the limited times we’ve had together, I feel like I have some depth,” Foster said.
Elkin opened with Hibriten in Lenoir Tuesday and faces North Surry and Forsyth Country Day today and tomorrow.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s almost a different program now after losing that batch of seniors.”
Matthew Schumak, a senior sweeper, is the lone returning all-conference selection from a year ago.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.