Cody Clark’s value to the boys soccer team was especially evident in the Titans’ final – and most important – .
Clark, a junior and the team’s best defender, was handed a straight red card with 27 minutes remaining in the state semifinal match at Greater Atlanta Christian School. Without Clark on the field, GAC scored two goals in an eventual 2-0 victory.
“It's very, very difficult to lose our best defender,” North Oconee coach David Van Wyck said.
It was Clark who spearheaded the Titans’ defensive efforts in a record and memorable season. They finished 17-2, and the GAC loss, on May 12, was the first time they allowed more than one goal in a game in more than three months.
“Cody works in a role at center defense where he does a lot of directing traffic, and because he does a good job of organizing the backs and stopper, he does not have to make a lot of big plays,” his coach said. “When he does need to clean up, however, he gets the job done.”
Because of Clark’s play on the back end, which helped goalkeeper Jon Skinner and allowed his offensive teammates more freedom, the Titans recorded 12 shutouts and scored 91 goals, both school records. The run to the semifinals also blew away the previous best playoff finish of the first round.
“He gives us depth on defense both offensively and defensively so he can spread the ball out vertically and laterally,” Van Wyck said.
As a rising senior, Clark will be one of those players Van Wyck will look to in 2012 to pick up where this past season finished.