In the 4A’s High Desert League, Reed senior Dylan Valentine has led the Raiders in scoring for three straight seasons and is the career leader in scoring at the east Sparks school.
After back-to-back first team all-league forward selections, Valentine finally received the Offensive Player of the Year award. Valentine scored 20 goals and dished out 10 assists.
“Yeah especially since it was unanimous. He deserved it,” Reed boys soccer coach Jeff Valentine said. “He never stopped scoring for us. It was nice to see, not only as his coach but as his father, too.”
At Spanish Springs, senior Irvin Somera was named the HDL’s Midfielder of the Year for the second straight season.
“He was everything. He was a defender. He was a forward. He probably would have played goalie if I asked him to,” SSHS boys soccer coach Rob Moreland said. “He’s just a good all-around player. He’s dependable. He’s someone you can rally around. He’ll try to save the game for you if he needs to. It’s just his presence on the field. It will be missed next year because you’re always looking for that player for all the other players to rally around.”
Spanish Springs and Reed had a combined five players named to the first team.
Junior forward Julio Soto, senior defender Alex Garcia and sophomore goalkeeper Omar Trujillo were the representatives for the Cougars, while junior midfielder Christian Martinez and junior defender Gonzalez Arellano were the Raiders’ first-teamers.
Reed didn’t have any other players receive all-league honors, but four more Cougars did — all on the second team.
Senior midfielders Rudy Espinosa and Alex Matute joined sophomore defenders Manny Medina and Johnathan Garcia on the second team all-league list for Spanish Springs.
North Valleys earned the three other top awards. Jose Claro was the Defensive Player of the Year. Hector Mendoza was the Goalie of the Year and Ian Stoddard took home the Coach of the Year.
•In the 3A, Sparks claimed two of the three Most Valuable Player awards from the Sierra League.
Edgar Casillas took home the honor as the league’s top midfielder.
“Edgar’s leadership especially the past four weeks came through big. It wasn’t anything we didn’t expect from him,” Sparks boys soccer coach Frank Avilla said. “That’s the joy of coaching high school sports and watching kids mature and come into their own. Edgar certainly did that for us. He’s not only a good athlete on the field, but he’s a good student in the classroom, and that’s what we preach. He’s followed through with every commitment that’s ever been asked of him. I think in four years, Edgar Casillas has maybe missed one practice. That shows his commitment not just to his sport, but to his teammates.”
But that wasn’t the only top honor a member of the Maroon and Gold received. Senior Noe Espana was voted the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“We have a very strong defensive tradition at Sparks High and Noe Espana filled that tradition very well,” Avilla said. “We’ve got another one coming up through the works, who Noe has been working with this year. That’s the joy of watching these kids come together and work with each other. Noe’s commitment to his teammates was second-to-none. We made Noe captain because we knew the apple didn’t fall from the tree. Noe was one of those ripe apples that were able to oversee his teammates and classmates, making sure all their homework was done. He made sure they knew their responsibilities beyond the team.”
Three more Sparks players made the first team. Eric Ojeda and Ruben Pacheco were first-team forwards, while Hector Hernandez was a first team midfielder.
On the second team, the Railroaders got forward Roger Garcia and defensive midfielder Danny Cervantes honored.
Rounding out Sparks’ all-leaguers were honorable mentions midfielders Vicente Cervantes and Edgar Lara.
Avilla was recognized as the Coach of the Year.