ROANOKE – Although the season does not kick off for a few more hours, the Roanoke-Benson/Eureka program has already found some good karma. Firstly, they will compete in one A this year and next under the new classification cycle. Secondly, only four players graduated from 2018 and third, the Rockets boast returnees in each of the four positions.
“I’m looking forward to a good season,” commented head coach Dennis Kennell. “I think we have the potential.”
R-B/E went 12-8-1 last season, as they dropped an 8-0 decision to regional host and two A runner-up, Peoria Notre Dame (23-3). The Rockets scored a single-season record 75 goals in ’18.
“I would not have expected that,” said Kennell of the offensive output. “I’m not sure we’ll be as good. I think we have the potential.”
Of those, a program standard of 30 came off the foot of senior midfielder Ashton Hubert, which accounted for 40 percent of the offense.
“He’s just really good on the ball,” pointed out Kennell, who starts his 12th season as coach with a record of 109-92-26. “He’s a really smart player. He has outside range.”
Sophomore forward Bradley Bachman tallied nine goals as a freshman. Also back are senior midfielder Jack Weber and sophomore midfielder Will Ludeman.
While R-B/E scored a lot, they allowed 56 into the net last season.
“We have our defenders back. As they get more experience. we’ll tighten that up,” Kennell predicted.
Among the returnees are senior defenders and twins Jacob and Logan Nix along with sophomore Elijah Worthen, who played some in goal as a freshman.
The co-op opens today at home against Ottawa with a start time of 4:30 p.m. The rest of the schedule appears below (all games start @ 4:30 p.m. unless indicated):
Thursday: versus East Peoria
Friday: vs. Marengo, 5:30 p.m. in Colin Smith Invitational @ Stillman Valley
Saturday: vs. SV or Woodstock, 8:45 & a second contest @ either 11:15 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. in CSI @ SV
Sept. 5: vs. Illinois Valley Central
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Sept. 9: @ Pekin
Sept. 10: vs. Peoria Christian, 6:30 p.m. @ East Peoria’s Eastside Centre
Sept. 12: @ Olympia
Sept. 17: @ Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy
Sept. 19: @ Canton, 5 p.m.
Sept. 23: @ Princeton
Sept. 26: vs. Illini Bluffs
Sept. 28: vs. Limestone, 10 a.m.
Sept. 30; vs. Blue Ridge/Deland-Weldon
Oct. 1: @ DePue
Oct. 4; vs. Peoria Richwoods
Oct. 7: vs. Fisher/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
Oct. 10: @ Metamora, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 12-19: Regional
Notes: Ottawa and Richwoods are new to the schedule, while Central Catholic and Earlville/Leland are off. There are 15 players from R-B and 11 from Eureka. There will not be a game at Eureka College’s Traister Field. Last year’s team shattered the record of 62 goals set by the state quarterfinal team of ’05. The Rockets scored a single-game record 11 against Olympia last Sept. 6.