FORT WALTON BEACH - Entering the season with just four returning starters from a season ago, Choctaw boys’ soccer coach Chris McDaniel was hopeful that his Indians – and a roster stocked with sophomores and juniors – would be able to compete for their third straight district championship.
They did more than that.
On Friday night, the Indians took control of the District 2-3A district championship game early and dominated Rutherford throughout in a convincing 5-0 win, thus securing the third district title in three years for Choctaw.
“There was a lot of pressure on these guys,” said McDaniel of his team, which improved to 19-2-2 on the season and will now host Washington in the Region 1-3A quarterfinals Wednesday night. “This is a great win for us. We get to keep homefield advantage for the playoffs, and that’s a big deal.”
Shane Nicholson opened the lid on the Choctaw blowout early in the first half, scoring a goal to put the Indians up 1-0. It was a lead that would never be challenged.
Shawn Hofstatter took over from there, scoring three straight goals to put the game out of reach for the Indians. Derek Castelin added the final score of the night to give Choctaw the 5-0 win.
“Our guys just wanted it,” said McDaniel. “We ran some different formations tonight, but our guys just played extremely well. I’m proud of the effort.”