Jimmy Milgie likes to run — and he likes to think.
Whether it’s on the soccer pitch, the track or just in training, the junior forward for the Whitfield boys soccer team likes to get lost in his work both with body and mind.
“It tires me, I can’t lie, but I really like the feeling,” Milgie said. “I know that if I am (tired) then I’ve worked my hardest to be better, to do what I can to be ready. You always have to think about what your opponent is doing. I know that if you’re not out there working to get better, then your opponent is getting better than you are. Winning doesn’t just begin on the field. Training and getting ready to win are so important. You can’t just show up.”
Milgie said one source of comfort is that, even though he knows very little about Lone Jack (14-4-2), Whitfield’s opponent in a 3 p.m. Class 1 semifinal in the town southeast of Kansas City, he knows what Whitfield is capable of and that’s what matters.
The Warriors will be ready, he said.
After all, Whitfield has faced its share of adversity this shortened season — from first getting to play to being successful and getting through to the state semifinals for the first time since the program won the Class 1 title in 2010.
Whitfield has won seven state titles, Class 1 championships in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009 before the last one.
“We want to put this program back where it was,” Milgie said. “We’re at the point where we want to be the start of a new program, really. We want to put our mark on this and be successful.”
The winner of the game Saturday will player the winner of the other semifinal between Southern Boone (18-0) and New Covenant Academy (16-4) at noon Nov. 20 at Lake Country Soccer Complex in Springfield.
Sophomore forward Nolan Schulte said there’s no better person to make sure things are running smoothly on the field than Milgie.
“Jimmy's leadership has meant a lot to me and he's really helped me as a forward and I think it has impacted him as well because we are both unselfish players and in recent games I've assisted goals for him and he's assisted goals for me,” Schulte said. “I think being back where Whitfield was before is a really great sign for Whitfield soccer and I'm sure the coaches are as proud as us players are for returning to the state semifinals.”
Whitfield coach Mike Quante said Milgie (15 goals, eight assists) and Schulte (14, 8) have done well to not only lead but play a stabilizing role for the Warriors offense as the team heads into the semifinal game.
While the duo are the top offensive threats for the Warriors, their work in finishing only scratches the surface of their true value, Quante said.
“Tommy Wortham suffered an ACL injury in the first game of the season and several other guys have experienced minor injuries that have kept them out only a handful of games However, missing two or three games is a bigger obstacle this year than in the past,” Quante said. “The difficulty in working past these injuries is the lack of a consistent starting lineup. Through that consistency, players gain a better understanding of the behaviors and tendencies of one another. Some people refer to it as 'players being on the same page'. Even though confronted with this adversity, the team, and in particular, Jimmy and Nolan have done well in returning Whitfield soccer to where it was between 2000 and 2010.”
Whitfield will have to contend with a Lone Jack side led by sophomore midfielder Anderson Vasquez (31 goals, 14 assists) and senior forward Elijah Moberly (22, 6).
No matter who Whitfield is going to face, Milgie said the Warriors will be ready.
“We just have to go in and play our game,” Milgie said. “If we go in and play the way we want — clean and efficient — we can beat anybody.”
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