Six years ago, David Shearer was named the head boys' soccer coach at Forestview High School. For the seniors on that team, he was their fourth coach in four years.
Six years later, Shearer has turned the Jaguars into the most dominant team in Gaston County.
Forestview has owned the Big South Conference, winning 48 straight conference games as they played three this past week (against Hunter Huss, North Gaston and East Gaston). Their last loss came in the 2004 season to South Point.
“The tradition that has been built has been able to allow the streak to continue,” Shearer said. “There have been a number of games that we probably should have lost, but the players' mentality has been that they just will not lose.”
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As Shearer mentioned, there have been some close ones, all against either South Point or Ashbrook. In 2007 Forestview played South Point twice in conference play, tying the Red Raiders once and winning 2-1.
Since 2005, Forestview has beaten Ashbrook three times by one goal, including a 2-1 victory on Oct. 15. The two teams also tied once in the 2007 season.
As of October 19th, Forestview's record stood at 14-2-1 overall, 9-0 in Big South play, and they were ranked fifth in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 3A poll.
One of the main reasons for Forestview's success, according to Shearer, is that most of his players play club soccer when high school soccer is over.
“The coaching and teaching that they continually get, whether it's from the school or club soccer is a great benefit. Plus, in club soccer they are almost always playing against other strong teams, so they get great competition.”
On the field the Jaguars are balanced, and Shearer says that their biggest strength is that they do a good job of controlling the ball in all parts of the field. They are led in scoring by junior Patrick Grajeda, who had 21 goals heading into the week, and senior Taylor Hendrick, who had 12 goals and 12 assists.
Defensively their leader is senior defender Thad Calvert, who leads a defense that has posted eight shutouts on the season.
The past two seasons Forestview has lost in the third round of the state playoffs, and just getting out of the western section of the playoffs will not be easy. Six of the top seven ranked teams in the state are in the western region, including two-time defending state champion Lake Norman.
“It sounds simple, but to get what we want (a state title) we have to create better scoring opportunities and limit our opponent's chances,” Shearer said. “There are so many quality teams in the west that whoever gets hot in the playoffs may be the team to get to the state championship.”