The Owensboro High School boys' soccer team has shifted into a new gear over the last two weeks.
With victories over Simon Kenton and Cooper at Henderson County's Colonel Classic this past weekend, the Red Devils have strung together an eight-game winning streak dating back to Aug. 31.
The Red Devils now sit at 11-3-1 and sport a 4-1 record against 9th District competition with just five regular-season games remaining on their schedule.
"This year, we've got a lot of talent," second-year coach Ryan Haley said. "We've got boys that have been with me, particularly, since they were in fifth grade. A lot of them do a lot of training in the offseason."
OHS entered 2019 with lofty expectations, and perhaps the Red Devils' biggest win this season came just last week when they outlasted rival Daviess County for a 4-3 overtime victory Thursday at Shifley Park. It was the first time OHS had beaten the Panthers since 2014.
With the win, Haley can sense a renewed level of confidence in his squad.
"They've been carrying around all this weight of losing to (Daviess County) for so long, finally the pressure's gone," he said. "… There's been a mental block. Now, I think the cloud is removed. Now, we can just play soccer. That's what we look forward to."
So far this season, sophomore Josh Head leads the Red Devils' offensive attack with 21 goals to go along with five assists. Seniors Paxton Jenkins and Andrew Saltsman have added seven goals apiece, with Saltsman dishing out a team-best nine assists.
Senior Grayson McFarland and junior Hser Thaw have notched five goals each, while senior Kevin Payne is second on the team with seven helpers.
OHS has outscored opponents 52-22, with senior goalkeeper Radley Worth recording 104 saves and three shutouts in 15 games.
Haley knows the potential for postseason success is there for his team, which finished runner-up to Daviess County in both 9th District and 3rd Region tournaments last season, but he's also aware that it won't be easy.
"It's a special group," Haley said. "I want nohing more than for this group to meet al of their expectations and make some noise and have a Cinderella story. That's what we hope to do, but there's a lot of work in front of us, and we definitely know that."
In order to get there, Haley wants to see a strong work ethic from his players as they close out the season.
"Moving forward, we've just got to take every practice session seriously," Haley said. "This group of kids is very talented, but they can be goofballs. We've got to make sure we're working hard every day, because our opponents -- no matter if it's Daviess County or anybody -- they're gonna be working hard. There's always somebody looking to take you out.
"We've got to make sure we keep working. The season's not over."