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Frankfort boys' soccer prepares to defend titles

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GARCIA HERNANDEZ: Frankfort’s Edgar Garcia Hernandez steps into more a leadership role as a senior this fall.
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GARCIA: Manual Garcia returns for his senior season after leading the Hot Dogs in goals scored in each of the last two seasons.
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champs: The Frankfort Hot Dogs won their first sectional championship in 17 years last fall, and they hope to compete for sectional and conference championships again this year.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Coming off a Sagamore Athletic Conference championship and its first sectional title in 17 years, the Frankfort boys’ soccer team has spent the summer preparing for the upcoming season.

“June workouts were good,” Frankfort head coach Chris Butler said. “We have some freshmen and some sophomores who have been coming out along with some of the returning varsity letter winners who have been leading the way and kind of showing how we do things.”

The Hot Dogs are working without 2017-18 seniors Connor Webb, Luis Romero, Gustavo Garcia, Rigo Santos, Yadeen Pozos, Alejandro Gonzalez, Humberto Aguilar, Alex Matias and Erick Guardado, who graduated from Frankfort High School in May.

“I think the main focus has been working on team chemistry and team cohesion. We are kind of making sure we have that,” Butler said. “I have a few incoming seniors like Manny Garcia, Edgar Flores and Edgar Garcia Hernandez who have really stepped up into a leadership role in the offseason workouts. Then I have some juniors, like Leo Hernandez and Chris Hernandez who have really taken a much more active role. Instead of being another part of the team, they are showing maturity and starting to become more vocal and a bigger presence with how they lead during workouts.”

Despite losing so many seniors, Butler says the Hot Dogs have strong pieces coming back at each area of the team.

“I think goalkeeping should be a pretty good strength with Danny Montez coming back,” he said. “He was battling for the starting keeper position last year and actually started that season but got injured and lost the starting position for a little while Erick Guardado just got on a massive roll with a hot glove blocking everything. So it was hard to pull a hot keeper. Danny had a very competitive offseason, so I think that should be a good strength for us.

“We are retuning our leading scorer over the past two years in Manny Garcia, so we are looking forward to getting some good goals from him this season,” Butler added. “Edgar Flores is retuning in the midfield for us. He is very much a jack of all trades in the midfield area. Then Edgar Garcia Hernandez is my Jack of all trades anywhere on the field. I can play him in scoring positon or back on defense where he finished last season for us. He stepped up and did a phenomenal job there. We have some really good players in good positions, and we will fill in the other places with some other good talent and will work on being the best tem we can be and see where that takes us.”

So far, the Hot Dogs have been getting used to the new lineups in open field workouts, but the start of the season is just around the corner with tryouts beginning on July 30. Then, on Aug. 11, the Hot Dogs play a scrimmage versus Hamilton Heights and Tri-Central at Frankfort before opening the season with the Logansport Berries starting at 5:30 p.m. Aug 14 at Frankfort.

“Obviously, we would like to repeat as conference champions, and we would like to repeat as sectional champions too but both of those are going to be difficult goals to accomplish because our sectional and our conference are so competitive,” Butler said. “Our sectional is mostly filled with top conference teams, so it will not be close to a guarantee. “We will have to earn it every day, stay at it, work hard and do the best we can. Hopefully, we will get there but nothing is guaranteed on it.

“I think people are looking for us to do things again,” he added. “I expect another good season. It is just a matter of being in a tough conference and a tough sectional, but it is obviously something that we want to do. We want to try to do even better than last year. Our goals are the same that they have been last year. We want to be a little bit better each day. I am excited and feeling good about it.”