Relaxed Hewett stirs up defenses


All his soccer life, Westminster senior Jason Hewett has received special attention.

It starts with the coaches. His own looking to find as many ways as possible to get him the ball, while opposing ones trying to do the opposite.

Next come the defenders who have the inevitable task of trying to shut down the versatile forward. They often come in numbers and few have enjoyed much success.

The final regard comes shortly after the season when his name is always one of the first to be mentioned when discussing All-County and All-Conference teams.

As a sophomore, Hewett made the first team on both the All-County and All-Central Maryland Conference teams. He repeated the showing last year as a junior.

All that respect brings plenty of expectations every time he steps on the field. So just how does Hewett handle all that pressure? It all can be explained by how he sees tonight's game with his 7-1 Owls going up against undefeated South Carroll. The county title will be on the line.

"It's the biggest game of the year and both teams are playing pretty well, it's just a matter of who keeps their composure," he said calmly.

Composure is what separates Hewett from a lot of other good soccer players. Westminster coach Chuck Beaver describes his co-captain as a team player with a great poker face.

"You just don't see the pressure get to him," he said. "He plays so smooth. It's like he's supposed to be there, he belongs there. Anyone who watches a game can tell he belongs there."

Hewett said he knew soccer was his game when he first began playing it at 5 or 6. He played some baseball in those days, but said there was too much standing around. He wanted something with action, and soccer gives him 90 minutes worth.

It's the days with the under-10 Freedom Optimist team that Hewett looks back to when the pressure begins to surface.

"There was a lot of pressure at the beginning of the season when you read in one of the newspapers that you're the 'most feared' offensive player [in the county]. It makes me feel good, but I also feel I have to live up to it," he said.

"I just try to deal with the pressure and play the way I grew up playing."

The Owls are enjoying one of their finest seasons under Beaver, having rolled off seven straight wins after a 3-2 loss at South Carroll in their season opener.

The defense has done its share with five shutouts, and 13 different players have at least one assist.

It all starts with Hewett, whose county-leading six goals and three assists are only a small part of what he does when he's out on the field.

"He has great vision of the field," Beaver said. "A lot of other players have the skills, but also need to be able to see the entire field. Jason can envision what needs to happen next."

South Carroll coach Charlie Fazenbaker wasn't about to give away any secrets going into tonight's game, but one concern certainly will be containing Hewett.

"He's the kind of player you can build a team around, and Westminster has done just that," said Fazenbaker. "Jason's been a good ballplayer over there for three years now and every coach says I wish I had him on my team."

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