In a perfect world, Brent Crenshaw wouldn't have to choose where to put senior Jack Bos on the soccer field.
"Can I have him at center mid and center back at the same time?" the Siloam Springs coach asked with a laugh. "Because he wins the 50-50 balls at center mid, which is a big part of the high school game. But in the back, if we're playing a team that I know is going to play direct ball, then we've probably got to have him in the back to clean things up.
"I wish we could have him in both spots."
That's the ultimate compliment to Bos, a John Brown signee and senior captain for the Panthers, who are gunning for their third straight Class 6A state championship.
Siloam Springs (14-7-3) earned the No. 1 seed out of the 6A-West Conference after beating Russellville 1-0 last Saturday, and the Panthers will open state tournament play Friday in Russellville against the winner of Thursday's opening round game between Little Rock Hall and Texarkana.
Bos has played a large part of the Panthers' last two state titles in 2016 and 2017, and he played on the state runner-up team in 2015. He knows what's on the horizon this week for the Panthers.
"This is easily the most important time of the year," Bos said. "It's what got me through the spring semester of high school. This is the only time that really matters is through the state tournament. This is what we've worked for. I know me and my fellow seniors have worked all four years. We've talked about winning state our senior year and going out in glory."
Bos has scored three goals on the season for the Panthers, including a sliding goal off a set piece last week in the 6A-West semifinals against Greenwood. But scoring goals isn't necessarily what the Panthers need from him.
"He has been a leader from day one," Crenshaw said. "He's the guy that I talk to. The kids look up to him. He's kind of a little goofy, but when it comes down to it, he's serious about this game. He's serious about going and winning a state championship, and he lets the boys know that."
A lot has changed for Bos since entering the program as a freshman at a smallish 5-foot-2, 120 pounds after his eighth-grade year.
Now he stands 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and is a physical presence both in the midfield and in the back. He's athletic enough to win balls in the air, yet skilled enough with his feet to be able to possess as well.
"It's very rare that players in high school their junior and senior year are ready for the college level just because of the physicality of it," Crenshaw said. "But he's one that's ready for the college game, just the way that he plays. He's not just a physical player either, he's got a decent touch. He's got a great understanding of the game. You can tell his dad was a player and a coach. Sometimes you either have it or you don't as far as an understanding of the game. He's got it."
Bos comes from a soccer family.
His dad, Stephen played at JBU, just like he will next season. His sister, Annika Bos Pollard -- a two-time all-state player for Siloam Springs and helped the Lady Panthers win two state titles in 2014 and 2015 -- also plays at JBU for the women's soccer team.
Jack Bos said it was playing against his sister growing up.
"She doesn't like me to say this but it was like having an older brother," Jack Bos said of his sister. "She had the frame that most guys would like to have. It was nice to see what she accomplished and try to follow in her footsteps in academics or athletics. It's nice to have her to look up to. She's excited for me to come out to JBU."
Now that's he grown up, Jack Bos doesn't go 1-v-1 with his sister anymore, but doesn't mind challenging her husband James Pollard, another former Siloam Springs all-state standout and current JBU men's team player.
"He's the runner," Bos said of James Pollard. "I can take him on the 50-50 ball. He's so fast, there's not many people out here that can catch him."
Little sister, Rin Bos, plays for the local Siloam Springs Futbol Club. All-in-all, it's a soccer family.
Bos signed with JBU back in February just months after helping the Panthers win a school record 21 games and their second straight state title in 2017, where he was named all-state in Class 6A.
If the Panthers are going to make it three straight titles this year, there's no doubt he will be in the middle of it once again.
"He's a machine," Crenshaw said, "and when it comes down to it we're grateful to have him on the field."
Bos thinks the Panthers' best days are still ahead of them.
"I don'think we've reached our full potential yet," he said. "I think there's a lot of room for improvement."Sports on 05/09/2018
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