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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Good isn’t ‘good enough’: Hernandez brothers become two-sport duo

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  • Don’t settle for good enough.
    That is what Mark and Phillip Hernandez say is their motto.
    Both made all-state in soccer this season — second team offense for Mark and honorable mention goalkeeper for Phillip.
    Mark scored the goals and Phillip kept the opponent from scoring.
    “He definitely had a higher spot on the team,” Mark said. “He led everything. I’m OK with that.”
    Phillip is a senior while Mark is a sophomore. There is a friendly rivalry, but they have respect for each other and enjoy being teammates.
    “I’m going to miss having him on the team next year,” Mark said. “A lot probably.”
    Mark is a forward, so they are on opposite sides of the pitch most of the time, but they still communicate during games.
    “It’s hard for me to get him to understand what I’m trying to tell him because he’s all the way up front,” Phillip said. “During games, whenever we have a corner kick, I would tell him what I can see. Maybe when the ball is down there, like what he can do if the defenders are slacking off on their team. I can kind of help him.”
    Mark said they use hand signals most of the time.
    “It’s obvious enough that people can catch on, but we did it kind of low key,” he said.
    The communication and camaraderie doesn’t stop when the games are over.
    “It’s easier for us to go out and practice together because I need to practice goalie and he needs to practice shooting,” Phillip said.
    Although, it’s not always about physical aspects of the game.
    “When something goes wrong with him, I know how to talk him down and get him back into the game,” Phillip said. “Sometimes he overreacts to things.”
    There wasn’t too much negative surrounding the Raiders soccer team this season.
    Immaculata went 10-5-1 and was a four-seed in regional play before losing to Tonganoxie in the first round.
    “We pulled out some games simply because we didn’t want to lose,” head coach Frank Mazeitis said.
    Phillip said the team was a lot more positive this season.
    “The other year’s I’ve been goalie, there was a lot more that went on than just playing soccer,” he said. “There was a lot of drama on and off the field between the team. I think this year we pretty much stopped that and we just got back to focusing on what we needed to do.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Soccer season is over and basketball is four games into the season with the Hernandez pair teaming up once again.
    Since they play opposite positions in soccer, there wasn’t too much competition between them then.
    “Maybe if we played the same position it would be more so,” Phillip said. “I have my job being goalie and he has his job, so we just both tried to make sure we did the best we could for the team.”
    But basketball is a different story.
    “We probably get on each other more in basketball,” Phillip said. Mark agreed and said, “Yes, we do.”
    “A lot more,” Phillip continued. “In basketball, we know what we have to do. We both have the same basic position.”
    Phillip returned to the team after taking the past two seasons off.
    Mark and Phillip said they thought it would be fun to play on the same team again, so they both decided to play basketball.
    “I think it’s good that we can both play on the same team in any sport and just help each other get better,” Phillip said. “That’s more true in basketball because in soccer we are more separate in what we do.”
    The brothers aren’t the only players new to the team.
    Bronson Schaake is in his first year as head coach for the Raiders.
    “We both know that we’ve got to get better and the new coaches are great,” Phillip said. “They really push us.”
    Mark and Phillip said Schaake is teaching them good fundamentals and to be better people.
    “He’s not just about basketball,” Mark said. “He’s teaching us how to grow up, too. If you forget your jersey or shoes, you’re going to be running. Responsibilities with grades, being respectful to teachers.”
    They said they learned to never forget equipment or get a technical foul.
    “It’s like this drill where you have to shuffle your feet and then you have to dive and spring down and jump up to grab the rim,” Phillip said. “You have to do it for three minutes. It’s called three-minute reminder. Reminder to never do it again.”
    As for playing with each other on he court, Phillip said there aren’t any hand signals like they had in soccer yet.
    “They’ll be coming soon,” he said. “Once we keep playing more and we have more games, we’ll probably get some signals in there.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Their motto is, “Don’t settle for good enough,” and it applies on the soccer pitch and the basketball court.
    They said the goal is to win a state championship.
    “We can’t call it a rebuilding year,” Phillip said. “This has to be the year we do it.”

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