U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY — Highly ranked soccer teams are becoming a family tradition for Air Academy.
Three years ago, a trio of cousins for the Kadets ended the year as Class 4A state champions. This year, everyone might be feeling a case of déjà vu.
Luke Louthan, Thaddaeus Dewing and Jonathan Brown are looking to repeat what David Louthan, Austin Dewing and James Sims did not so long ago. All are related. And this year’s trio wants to make state title wins even more of a family affair.
“I’m sure over the dinner table sometimes, their older cousins remind them that they won a state title,” Air Academy coach Epsen Hosoien said. “I don’t think that’s their main driving force, but they’re competitors and athletes and want to play good soccer.”
Air Academy’s 4-1 win over Pikes Peak Athletic Conference foe Lewis-Palmer on Thursday served as another reminder that the program is once again back to contender status. The Kadets (12-0 overall, 4-0 PPAC) are scoring over five goals per game.
They didn’t clear that mark on Thursday, however, as Rangers (3-8, 2-1) keeper Aiden McConnagle kept several Kadet shots out of the net.
Air Academy is just as strong on the defensive side, surrendering just 12 total goals between keepers Thomas Beatty and Sean Redinger.
Unlike the 2014 version of the team, the bulk of the scoring isn’t coming from a single player. Austin Dewing led that squad with 34 goals on the year and was the only Kadet player to score double-digit goals.
This year, Louthan leads the team with 12 goals – after scoring two in the win over Lewis-Palmer – and Thaddaeus Dewing, Austin’s younger brother, has 10. Kristian Hooker sits right in between them with 11.
“(Austin) had 16 goals his sophomore year so he’s pushing me to get more than him,” Dewing said. “We’re striving to be the best, even though it’s hard to beat what they did.”
The most interesting piece of this version of the family dynamic will be how they deal with losing one another to graduation, one by one.
Brown is the senior of the group and already looking toward graduation is hopes to join the older set of cousins as a cadet at the Air Force Academy. Louthan is in his junior year and Dewing is just a sophomore.
“I’ve already started the process,” Brown said. “I’m trying to follow in their footsteps here at the academy.”
With this being the last year that the three of them will compete together, they wouldn’t mind replicating the accomplishments of what their older siblings/cousins accomplished not so long ago.
And that includes claiming a state soccer title and following it up with a state basketball championship. The Sims/Dewing/Louthan class of 2015 also won a 4A state title for the Kadets on the hardwood. In terms of just bragging rights, if Air Academy claims a soccer title this year, the pressure will be on come basketball season.
“Of course, I always feel like that,” Louthan said. “Winning one in soccer would be great too. Just anything we could get.”
But first thing’s first. Air Academy needs to finish out the regular season, and looks to do it without a loss on the record. With PPAC games remaining against Sand Creek, Cheyenne Mountain and Vista Ridge, the Kadets hope this branch of the family can keep the tradition alive.
Then, it’s on to the playoffs. Anything can happen in postseason play. And for the Kadets and its three cousins, that can mean earning equal bragging rights come the next family reunion.