On a whiteboard regularly used for scouting reports, Rockhurst High School soccer coach Chris Lawson diagramed his team’s formation with an added twist. For the first time, it featured central back defender Kyle McLagan as the team’s lone striker.
It was a position McLagan had never played — and one he certainly didn’t think he would be trying out as a senior.
But with a 7-8 record midway through the season, the Hawklets were becoming desperate.
“My immediate reaction was to look around and have a little bit of a chuckle to be honest,” McLagan said. “I looked at my teammates and mouthed, ‘Is Coach going crazy? What’s going on here?’ ”
It was no mistake. Instead, it was the move that saved the Hawklets’ season.
With McLagan leading the offense, Rockhurst won its next 15 matches, the last of which clinched the sixth state championship in school history.
McLagan scored the game-winning goal in eight of the 15 matches. In fact, after netting the golden goal in overtime to defeat Glendale in the state semifinals, he scored twice in a 3-1 win over Timberland in the Missouri Class 3 state championship, giving him 13 for the season.
For his part in the Rockhurst turnaround, McLagan is The Star’s All-Metro boys soccer player of the year.
“I think what allowed me to settle in so quickly was that I was usually marking people like me, so I knew what forwards liked and what they didn’t like,” McLagan said. “But it surprised me. I was always the guy that would maybe get my one chance a game, and I’d miss. As a forward, you can’t miss.”