He had to replace nine starters.
He was playing in one of the best divisions in the state.
Then he had to take his guys to possibly the best district in the state.
So, as Todd Heugh looked back on the 2012 season, there was really only one way to sum everything up.
“These guys certainly surpassed my expectations,” the Troy Athens soccer coach said of his team, which ended the season in a 1-0 loss to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek Oct. 18 in a Division 1 district semifinal.
Athens, which won the Oakland Activities Association Red Division with a 6-0-1 record, finished the season 13-5-2 overall.
“Obviously, you want to go as far as you can and win a state tournament,” Heugh said. “But I told the guys when they have a chance to sit back and reflect on this, they will see how great of a year it was.”
Athens beat Utica High 4-0 in the playoff opener.
In the Stoney Creek game, the Cougars got an early goal and hung on in a match that saw very few scoring chances.
“We were fortunate to get the bye in the first round, then we had to game plan for one of the best teams in the state,” Stoney Creek coach Adam Bican said of beating Athens. “We put together a solid defensive effort and found a way.”
“This is a very tough district, and that was a very tough game,” Heugh said. “I mean, any team could have won this game and won the whole thing. They found a way to get the one goal that was needed. But you look at it, there was a lot of good teams that didn’t get to win the title. Only one good team got to.”
“When you look at this season, you have to see it as a success,” Heugh continued. “We had a lot of guys step up and play significant roles in what we did. That was awesome.”
In other district action
Troy High was also part of the Rochester district.
The Colts ended their season in a 5-1 loss to Utica Eisenhower in an Oct. 16 opener.
Auburn Hills Avondale had its back-to-back state title hopes cut short in a 1-0 overtime loss to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood in a D-2 district final.
The Yellow Jackets beat Bloomfield Hills Lahser 2-1 in a semifinal after beating Madison Heights Lamphere 8-0 in the opener.