FORTVILLE — Jarret Whitehouse doesn’t put much stock in superstition. Instead, the Mt. Vernon senior prefers more grounded disciplines.
Science and mathematics fall into that category, the Marauder’s starting forward and aspiring orthodontist admits, but if he does have one a pregame ritual, it’s music — nothing specific or predetermined.
“It has ranged everywhere from classical to hard techno,” Whitehouse said. “Before we played Greenfield-Central, I was listening to Rush and 38 Special. For Shelbyville, Joe Young, one of the great defenders on our team, was listening to reggae, so we were listening to that before the game.”
If Whitehouse had to select a title track to describe his 2016 soccer campaign, it very well could be “Kaboom!,” a song by his favorite band, I Fight Dragons.
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His thunderous leap from five goals to a team-leading 20 over the course of one season would be right on par with the tune’s resounding chorus — kaboom!
“He was one of my most comfortable guys with the ball this year. He could dance around with it and make people look silly. He could fire it into the goal, but all of that is a credit to his work ethic,” Mt. Vernon head coach Matt Mayhew said. “Whatever he put his mind to, he’s going to succeed at it. That’s who he is. That’s a great kid right there.”
The outright leader in goals scored in the Hoosier Heritage Conference, Whitehouse ritualistically dropped bombs into the net from various distances and angles for the Marauders.
His final season statistics marked a career best at 48 points and resulted in multiple accolades, including a second straight All-HHC first team nod, an All-District first team selection and an Indiana Elite North-South All-Star Game invite this month, where he fittingly toed the line and posted a hat trick.
As the county’s top scorer, Whitehouse added another achievement, earning the title of 2016 The Daily Reporter Boys Soccer Player of the Year as voted upon by the coaches and sports staff.
True to form, however, Whitehouse, a two-year varsity captain, would be the first to divvy up the honor 27 ways. It’s not about him, he said, it’s about the name on everyone’s jersey.
“I’ve grown up with half of those guys since I was 10 years old. I couldn’t do anything without the team,” Whitehouse remarked. “We had a lot of guys that looked around this year and said, we all want to do well. So it didn’t matter who was putting goals into the net. We just wanted to see Mt. Vernon was win. We are all Marauders. We are a family.”
As one of the team’s 10 senior elders, Whitehouse embraced his role as a leader this fall, but his capability as a scorer didn’t materialize overnight, Mayhew recalls. Seeing his future standout as kid on the pitch along with his son, Timmy Clone, the second-year Marauders’ coach knew what could be.
“I caught a glimpse in middle school when I first saw him play, and I realized there was some untapped potential there. He always was a great player, but I don’t think he was ever put in the right spots to really flourish,” Mayhew said. “Last year, he was our leading assist guy. He was tied for conference. But last year we didn’t need him to do the goal scoring.
“This year, we knew it was his time to step up, and he did it.”
As a junior, Whitehouse was the facilitator, feeding Clone and classmate Carson Jones, who went on to lace a combined 27 goals. He finished with 12 assists as the team went 16-3-1 and won sectional.
With opponents determined to mark both players this season, Whitehouse joined the attack, which increased his teammates’ productivity as the trio scored 48 of the Marauders’ 60 goals.
As part of the fray, Whitehouse had seven multi-goal matches with a pair of back-to-back hat tricks against HHC rivals Delta and New Castle on Aug. 20 and 23. He terrorized the conference with 11 goals through Mt. Vernon’s perfect 7-0 run versus the league en route to a second straight HHC team title and first undefeated championship since 1998.
He just needed a chance, Mayhew said, and a little good fortune.
Gaining varsity minutes as a freshman, Whitehouse’s momentum was derailed early by a concussion. Pneumonia set him back as a sophomore before he started to hit his stride last year.
Then he almost lost his senior season after suffering a sprained ankle on the first day of a team-building camp at Anderson University this past offseason.
“I was scared to death when he went down in Anderson. He went through all this stuff to get here and it’s his senior year,” Mayhew said.
Despite the injury, Whitehouse stayed the course the rest of the trip refusing to lose the opportunity to strengthen the team’s bond.
“He was running around on a dolly and crutches, going to everything, across the entire college campus to show the guys that he was there for them no matter if he was hurt or the starting forward,” Mayhew said.
“Just watching him continue to work through all these little setbacks to get to where he is, is a testament to who he is and his love for the game.”
His passion for soccer was something new for Whitehouse initially. He adopted the sport over time as the first member of his immediate family to compete. A former baseball and basketball player, he gravitated toward soccer because it satisfied two needs: a bigger playing surface than hoops and non-stop action.
Moving up through the Optimist Club at the age of 3, Whitehouse honed his skills with Sporting Indiana FC once he reached high school while also playing indoor soccer. From there, he found his game and friendships he won’t soon forget.
“A lot of us do things outside of school together. We had spaghetti dinners each Sunday before a game, just as a team and a family, and we bonded together,” Whitehouse said. “It was a like a group of brothers.”
And like siblings, the Marauders made every activity memorable, much like their impromptu marshmallow fights, their fundraising efforts such as the team’s Kick For The Cure match in August to help teammate Matt Thompson’s brother Ben in his battle with Stage I Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and winning.
In the past two years, the Marauders’ seniors only lost twice in 18 HHC matches and never in regulation. Both defeats were in shootouts. Overall, the group finished 29-6-1 in both seasons combined with a 13-3 record this season.
“I hope the next group realizes the soccer team is a family. I hope that’s the legacy we leave, not just what the team’s record is,” Whitehouse said. “Knowing that people really care about everyone in the community is awesome. Being part of that as a whole really means something. Everything is more special, then just a team getting together to play and then leaving. Everyone is connected.”
Parents: Scott and Julie Whitehouse
Siblings: Logan (21), Noah (14)
Club Team: Sporting Indiana FC
Favorite Subject: Science and Math
GPA: 3.7 (honors student)
Soccer Statistics: 20 goals, 8 assists, 48 points
Soccer Accolades: Two-year captain, Two-year All-HHC, Two-year Academic All-State, 2016 All-District First Team, MVP of 2016 Indiana Elite North-South All-Star Game
Favorite Movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Favorite Band: I Fight Dragons
Pregame Rituals: “I’m not superstitious, but I always listen to music before games.”