SYLACAUGA -- A three-goal and two-assist effort in two soccer games by Sylacauga High School’s Cole Grogan netted him The Daily Home Player of the Week honors.
Grogan’s timely goals and assists helped the Aggies (11-2-1) finish Week 4 with a 2-all tie against Briarwood Christian on March 8 and a 3-1 victory over Carroll on March 10.
“He was a pivotal part,” Sylacauga head coach Matt Zedaker said. “The goal he had against Briarwood was a free kick where he had to bend it around a wall, and it actually gave us a 2-1 lead, so it was almost a game-winner … He’s an offensive player, but he really showed out his defensive skills against Briarwood that helped us get that 2-2 tie. Carroll was a good game, too.”
Grogan, who spent four seasons competing against the Aggies while with Benjamin Russell, transferred to Sylacauga, where he said having support early made the process of moving easier.
“You’ve got different people, and you have to learn different aspects, but they helped me during the transition and it went smooth,” Grogan said. “They didn’t lock me out or anything like that just because I was from a different school. They brought me in like I was family, and I’m very appreciative.”
Grogan said his familiarity with the group made it easy to meld with the team. When asked if the Aggies were happy to have him on board given his level of talent, Grogan modestly deferred.
“You’d have to ask Coach Zedaker about that,” he said. “I’m not sure.”
Zedaker said it’s easier to rest comfortably knowing Grogan is a weapon the Aggies can make use of instead having to figure out how to stop.
“It went from nightmares to sweet dreams now,” Zedaker said. “It was always a game plan to go in and try to shut him down. We never did it very well. We’re very fortunate … To be able to coach a player of his caliber, it makes our jobs easy as coaches. We just kind of guide him in the right direction, and Cole, he’s a team leader.
“He came in from the get-go, he knew a lot of our guys on our team, and he jelled with us immediately and became one of our leaders. He’s a team captain who leads by example. Not a very vocal guy in the locker room, but absolutely a vocal guy with his skill out on the field. That’s the kind of captain he is, and he’s doing an outstanding job for us right now.”
The two-sport senior also served as kicker for Sylacauga’s football team, a role Grogan said contributed to improving his soccer game.
“I think football made me more physical, and it’s going to teach me in life to be more dedicated and drive me more,” he said. “It’s a sport where it’s full of dedication, drive and heart. I’ve had some coaches help me with that. I think that’s a big part of my soccer success is football, honestly.”
For the season, Grogan has 24 goals and 13 assists as he inches closer to claiming the state record for career goals, which sits at 156. Grogan already owns the career assists record with 132, with many opportunities to add to the record in a career full of memories.
“I’m five goals away from breaking the state record. That’s a big accomplishment for me,” Grogan said. “There’s a lot of people who’ve been a part of that journey. And we went to the Final Four one year at Ben Russell. I want to thank everyone who has been there to help me, mostly my dad.”
Zedaker said having Grogan’s skillset bodes well for an Aggies squad set on advancing further into the state soccer playoffs.
“We feel we’re a perennial playoff team year-in and year-out, but definitely Cole is a known player throughout this community and this county,” Zedaker said. “Playing him when he was at Ben Russell every year and knowing we were going to get him, it elevated our guys’ play. He’s complimented everything that we already had in place. It was a big step for us, and it’s a big step in what our goals are as far as going further in the playoffs … A player of his caliber coming in on our time just escalates what our goals and what our expectations are.”