The Evans boys soccer team had tried so many different ways to score goals early in the season, coach Brian Killips even inserted goalkeeper Jeff DuMond at forward.
Killips was talking with assistant coach Joel Samaha one day when the two figured out they were going to have to make some radical adjustments to the lineup.
"We had to take some risks," Killips said.
The risks rewarded the Knights with a successful season after their sluggish start: They made it all the way to the Class AAAA quarterfinals, winning two competitive games and advancing as far as any area Georgia team Class AAAA or higher. Killips is The Augusta Chronicle boys coach of the year for implementing and overseeing these changes.
The Knights limped through their first four games by scoring only once. Included in that bunch was a 2-0 defeat against Lakeside that all but decided the Region 3-AAAA championship way back on Feb. 26.
"We were playing well, we just weren't scoring," said Killips, who has coached the varsity team since the spring of 2002.
The change started by moving senior Joe Rizner up from defense to midfield. Ian Rosas also slid to the outside, and sweeper Will Wren moved to the forward position. It left the Knights with two new players in the middle of the field: freshman center midfielder Jeung Won Montoya and center back Kristian Lopez, a transfer student from North Carolina. The two new faces responded with strong seasons.
Lopez shut down the state's leading scorer, Evan Scott, in a Class AAAA second-round win at Hardaway, and then played well against Class AAAA player of the year Josh Ball in a 1-0 defeat at McIntosh.
"I couldn't have been any prouder of the team after that game," Killips said.