Freshman Caragan Childs leading Lady Bobcats in first year with program

It’s hard to believe the Sumrall soccer program is only in year two, but that’s exactly the case. At times, it’s easy to tell the Bobcats and Lady Bobcats are young programs, but the Sumrall girls’ 15-3-1 overall record and 6-0 district record speak for itself.

When you ask Sumrall freshman Caragan Childs, who has lived in the area for years but went to Oak Grove because her mom taught in the school district, if she knew about Sumrall soccer last year, she replied she didn’t pay attention too much about Sumrall. She was focused on Oak Grove soccer and her Select team.

But, Childs enrolled at Sumrall this year and has been a vital part of the team by leading the Lady Bobcats in scoring and assists so far this season. She’s totaled 25 goals and 11 assists through the first 16 games (the statistics haven’t been updated on to represent the last few games).

Lady Bobcats head coach Todd Siders doesn’t believe his team is where they’re at today without the freshman.

“She’s a special player,” he said. “She brings a dynamic that we didn’t have last year by just being able to take the game on by herself. Her dribbling ability, being able to take players on and her vision makes everybody around her better.”

Siders and Childs’ relationship goes back a little further than the beginning of the school year. When Siders was an assistant coach on the Oak Grove Lady Warriors team a few years ago, Childs was in his fourth-grade P.E. class. Also, Siders coached Childs’ older sister, Carmin Childs, at Oak Grove.

“When I got the call that she was coming here for sure, obviously I was excited,” Siders said. “I knew what kind of player she was, I know what kind of player her sister was and I was just hoping she was some of that. She has a chance to be that good and more, so definitely an exciting time when I found out she was coming.”

Siders joked he always hears whispers of players transferring to Sumrall, but he doesn’t pay attention until they’re actually enrolled.

“I love coach Siders,” Childs said. “He’s always loved me, too. Now that I play soccer for him, he’s my coach and I respect him. I love it even more now that I’m here. I love the whole team and they were very welcoming.”

Unlike a lot of the players on the team, Childs has been playing the sport since she was 4 years old, but she’s impressed with how far her and the team have come with little experience. The Sumrall girls have outscored its district opponents 48-2 in just six games, and the only team to find the back of the net on the Lady ’Cats was North Pike in a 3-2 Sumrall win earlier this month.

In that game, Childs recorded an assist and a goal to help push her team to victory. Not only did she have the game-winning goal late in the game, her assist was what everybody was talking about during and after the game.

“I don’t know if that’s a normal (assist) for anybody,” Siders said. “She sees the runs, but it’s one thing to see and another thing to execute it. That was definitely a thing of beauty. Hopefully it becomes more normal, but I don’t think that was a normal play for anybody.”

Childs sent a ball 40 yards in the air right to senior Addison Robinson’s foot inside the box, and Robinson finished easily for the goal. Those are the type of plays Childs loves to make for her team.

“Assisting,” she said when asked if she’d rather assist or score, “because sometimes you have to let everyone else have a chance before you take it yourself. I was really excited about that because we needed another goal.”

As the regular season comes to an end Friday night at North Pike, the Lady Bobcats have a chance to join the boys’ team as district champs for the first time in school history. Childs said her and her teammates are ready for the big game.

“We’re ready to get out there and give it our all,” she said. “We want to shut them out.”