The Morgan County boys’ soccer team is at a peak never seen in the history of the program. Coach Aaron Paul has taken the program to new heights recently winning a second Region 8-AAA Championship in back-to-back fashion. His hard work and belief that Morgan County High School should be competing at this level every season is at the root of that success. He said, “The players deserve all of the credit for the back-to-back Region Championships. They have worked extremely hard all season to focus on getting better each and every week. This team has taken it upon themselves to make sure they are getting better each week. I and assistant coaches Bo Larkins and Thomas Hughes have just worked to make sure our guys stay focused and to make sure that we continue to focus on the little things.”
According to Paul, the team hasn’t had a lot of time to really stop and enjoy the win because so many games for both varsity and JV were still left on the schedule. Paul commented, “As soon as we clinched the Region two weeks ago our guys were talking about what needed to be done at practice over the next few sessions in order to improve.”
Paul was asked what has been the difference over the past two seasons that has led to the program’s overall success. “This team has not overachieved. With the number of varsity starters that returned this year, we knew that we had the experience to be successful. The chemistry that has developed with our players over the past three to four years has been essential to our success these past two seasons. Also, the kids buying into what we want to accomplish as a program has been important. Consistency with our coaching staff has also been key. We would not be where we are right now without Bo Larkin’s work with our JV program and his tremendous insight into what the varsity is trying to accomplish. We have had some really successful JV teams over the past four years, only losing a handful of games. This year our JV team was undefeated.” Larkins is in his second year on the staff. He brings a lot of experience to the program having played his high school soccer days at North Oconee High School for four years.
He continued with these remarks, “Our middle school soccer program has also been making some noise with a high number of quality players and middle school championships,” he noted.
Paul, in his fourth season as the leader of the Dog pack says he has benefitted from organized soccer at the Middle School level as well as the community opportunities to get involved at a young age. “We want to have a total program for Morgan County Soccer. Many people have put in thousands of hours at the Morgan County Recreation Department and with creating our local club team, MAYSA, to ensure that we have soccer available for all ages and levels. We are starting to see the hard work payoff of these individuals, and the hard work of our players.”
When asked what it has been like to watch this group succeed this season, it was clear to see his excitement. “It has been an absolute blast watching this group of seniors develop into the team that they are now! They have overcome adversity and worked extremely hard to get the team to the point that they are right now. They made it happen. No one can predict the future, but 2-3 years ago I saw a very talented, hardworking, and hungry group of freshmen that wanted to make our soccer team the best that it could be. I knew that we had some outstanding players, but I had no way of knowing that they would develop into the fantastic team that they are today.”
He finished up with these thoughts about the future of Morgan County soccer, “We don’t want this to be a one-time deal with our team. We want to consistently be competing for region championships and consistently going deep in the playoffs. We want to continue to improve and maintain a high level of play. We want there to be an expectation from the community that our program will be successful on and off the field.”
It looks like the program is in good hands under Paul with the sky as the limit for the future.