When new head boys soccer coach Josh Sullivan arrived at West Jones in 2015, Jacob Fulcher was a freshman keeper. Sullivan describes the following situation this way: “I moved him off keeper. We had Jesse Cooley and Jack Taylor running that position, and I wanted to use his skills somewhere else because he was a pretty good player [at any position on the field].”
Fulcher got the playing time his skills deserved over time. This past season, the senior striker/midfielder led West Jones in goals scored with 12.
“He’s a great kid and a good person,” said Sullivan. “He loves his team. And he loves his community and school. He brought a lot to what we had.
The first seven games of the season weren’t pretty, in fact, it was bothersome to the entire team.
“We started the season pretty rough,” Fulcher said. “I think we went through a five-game losing streak. Coach Sullivan talked to us and told us to pick up our spirits and continue. We were unstoppable after that.”
West Jones won seven of its next eight games in November and December. Even after that, the winning continued.
“Coming back from the Christmas Break we’ve always been a little sluggish,” said Sullivan. “This year, fortunately, we played Clarkdale in our first game back from the break. We had a good showing in that game. Jacob scored twice, and he had an assist. He helped us [overall] by swinging early out the gate. I believe we scored a total of three goals before the half. Jacob was just ready to go in that game.”
“We had fun doing it,” added Fulcher. “That’s what it’s all about – just having fun.”
West Jones continued its roll in January, adding three victories against Region 5-5A opponents, Wayne County, South Jones and Laurel – then added a win over Hattiesburg in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A boys soccer playoffs.
Fulcher tallied five goals and three assists in 198 minutes during the month. The spark he provided, and his athletic play on the field, as well as his leadership role, earns Fulcher our Sports601 Powerade Soccer Player of the Month (January) award.
“I give all the glory to God,” said Fulcher when he was told the news. “I want to thank the coaches for never giving up on me. I also want to thank my teammates because it’s an 11 man’s sport, not just the one. And my dad, I want to thank him. He never gave up on me.”
Fulcher’s last career high school game came one day after the month of January ended. West Jones fell to Long Beach 2-1 on February 1st in the second round of the playoffs. The senior star said the loss was tough, but he’d have it no other way.
“[The season] didn’t end the way I wanted it to,” said Fulcher, “but I’m glad it ended the way it did. I got to play with my brothers all the way to the end of it. It sucks that it ended, but it had to end sometime.”
From the freshman keeper, Sullivan met on Day 1 to the guy Fulcher has become, the West Jones coach is more than proud.
“He was exciting to watch,” said Sullivan. “He was a big part of our success this year and getting us here the other three season.”
West Jones ended the 2018-2019 season, 13-7-1.