Before the season began, J.R. Ochs set a goal that appeared a bit selfish, at least to Jeff Gordon, Brea-Olinda High School assistant soccer coach.
“Jeff mentioned to me that all J.R. was concerned about was scoring goals,” Brea-Olinda Coach Manny Toledo said. “In other words, J.R. didn’t care how the team did. Jeff was pretty worried about it.”
But Toledo was not fazed by the information.
“I told Jeff, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ ” Toledo said.
As it turns out, Ochs, The Times’ athlete of the week, has been a set-up man rather than a prolific scorer. Toldeo credits Ochs’ unselfish play this season as one of the reasons for Brea-Olinda’s success.
The Wildcats are ranked second behind Pacifica in the Southern Section 2-A poll.
Ochs hasn’t given up scoring, though. Last Wednesday, he set a school record with 4 goals in a 5-1 victory over Magnolia. He scored another goal Friday in a 6-2 victory over Anaheim.
“Goals are fine as long as the team wins,” said Ochs, a senior. “That’s all that matters.”
Ochs’ shift in attitude is a result of his shift in position.
Last season, Ochs was a part-time starter at forward, where scoring is a primary function. This season, Ochs was moved to center/halfback.
“I thought I was going to be a forward again and that my main responsibility was going to be scoring,” he said. “Now, I just concentrate on distribution.”
Ochs leads the team with 15 assists this season.
“I’ve always played center/halfback on my recreational teams, so it wasn’t a big change for me,” he said. “But it took a lot pressure off. I wasn’t looked on to score a lot.”
Jason Ochs, J.R.'s brother, is the the Wildcats’ leading scorer this season.
Jason Ochs, a junior, has 16 goals. And J.R., who has 10 goals, is quite good at getting his brother the ball.
“By instinct, I know what he’s going to do (on the field),” J.R. said. “We’ve been playing on the same teams together for the last 10 years, so I better know him by now.”
Jason Ochs got off to a fast start, scoring most of his goals during nonleague competition. When league play began, Jason received the defensive attention, freeing others, including J.R., for goals.
“I figured everyone would be keying on Jason,” Toledo said. “So I knew J.R. would be able to score more.”
Which is all right with J.R.
“I felt a lot of pressure as a forward last season,” Ochs said. “Now the pressure is on Jason.”
Forward Pat Bagatourian of Orange Lutheran scored 29 points in two victories last week. Bagatourian had 19 points and 18 rebounds against Brethren Friday.
Guard Sam Sabbara of Western had 36 points in two victories. Sabbara had 26 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists against Valencia Wednesday.
Center Randy Schulze of Pacifica scored 37 points in two victories.
Forward/guard Keith Walker of Brea-Olinda scored 51 points in two victories.
Brea-Olinda High School
Height, Weight, Class: 6-1, 160, Senior
Last Week: Ochs scored 5 goals in two victories last week, including a school-record 4 against Magnolia on Wednesday. He also had 3 assists in 2 games.
Season: Ochs has 10 goals and 15 assists.