About 35 former players turned out Friday to celebrate the successful 18-season tenure of Woodlawn High School boys soccer coach Andrew Barnes.
Barnes is retiring at the end of the school year, but is focused on one last run in the Division II boys soccer playoffs.
The Panthers are the No. 7 seed and earned an opening-round bye in the playoff brackets released Wednesday. Woodlawn has 15 seniors on a squad with two semifinal and one quarterfinal appearance in the past three seasons.
Included in the senior group are keeper Jakarie Davis and midfielder Jacob Barnes, who have played soccer together since third grade.
Barnes has 12 goals and 20 assists on the season. Davis is a three-year starter at keeper and allowed just one goal in district as the Panthers (15-5-1) finished 7-0 in league play for another Division II, District 4 title.
“It was neat that a bunch of former players came out last week,” Andrew Barnes said. “I haven’t talked about my retirement. We had quite a few starters returning this season. The players have done a really good job. We have a ton of potential going into playoffs. We’re hoping the ball bounces our way.”
Andrew Barnes has coached all three of his children: Jonathan Barnes, Emilie Barnes and now Jacob. Barnes coached the Walker girls and boys teams for five seasons, and said he has coached more than 450 high school matches.
Like his older brother, Jacob Barnes has signed a college football scholarship with Louisiana Tech and will compete for punting and place-kicking duties. Jonathan Barnes made 81 field goals and is ninth all-time in FBS NCAA scoring with 462 points.
“We definitely have good team chemistry,” Jacob Barnes said. “I think we’ve gotten better as the season progressed. We’ve just got to go out and execute our game plan.”
Jacob Barnes, a defensive midfielder who sometimes pushes forward on offense, handles the throw-ins and penalty kicks.
“I put a lot of power behind my kicks,” he said.
“Jacob plays in front of our center back and has done a good job of winning balls in the air and leads the team in points,” Andrew Barnes said. “We like having him taking our penalty kicks. He handles pressure well.”
Jacob Barnes said the 6-foot-1 Davis has been a stellar keeper this season. “Davis is a vocal guy and someone we rely on,” he said. “He’s flipped the switch to another level this season.”
“Our defense is playing great,” Davis said. “We really work together. Jacob really gets the job done on the field.”
Other key players for Woodlawn include junior forward Cody Stevenson (19 goals, five assists), outside midfielder Christopher Enamorado and defensive back Jakobie Davis.
“Cody Stevenson has good touch and a good feel for the game up top,” Andrew Barnes said. “Jakobie Davis has won tons of headers and defensive balls, and that’s allowed Jacob more freedom on offense.”