Coming into this season, Josh Crague knew there were going to be multiple underclassmen filling out Lake Central's boys soccer team.
So, as one of the most experienced players coming back on a very young team, the Indians' senior knows he'll be counted on as a leader this season.
"I have to become a leader, step up and show the young kids basically what happened my freshman year," said Crague, who led Lake Central with 17 goals last season. "If they listen to what me and coach (Jereme) Rainwater said, I think we'll have a great season."
The Indians lost 15 players last season, many of them from graduation.
To make matters worse, Paul Junokas tore an anterior cruciate ligament, so he's out for the season.
Rainwater has noticed Crague's increased attitude toward being a leader and helping the younger kids get acclimated to playing together in practice.
"Josh is one of those guys where he wants to be the first guy there and the last guy to leave," Rainwater said. "He's organized things throughout the summer for his teammates. He's just a kid that always wants to do extra, because he knows that's what it takes to be great. He's showing me even more than he had in years past."
Crague has played all over the field, dropping back or moving up in whatever position the team needs him. He hasn't played goalkeeper for L.C., but his versatility at every other position has proved to be an excellent benefit for the Indians.
"As a team, you can't solely count on the fact that Josh is going to kill your back line," Rainwater said. "Just when you think you have him figured out, he becomes the assist guy. He's dangerous in all different kinds of areas. He's even frustrating sometimes as a coach, because he's unpredictable. There's no doubt we play through Josh Crague."
After winning state in 2010, the Indians were knocked out of the 2011 playoffs by eventual state champion and rival Crown Point. That served as a bit of a wake-up call for Crague and the Indians.
"Everyone on the team knew that once they won state, we could have (repeated) it," Crague said. "We just had an unlucky game."
However, that premature exit from the state tournament just makes Crague want to put the Indians back on the right track.
"I want to win sectionals hopefully win regionals," he said. "I think we can accomplish those two. My personal goal is to get all-district again, and maybe get all-state."