The Cougars (17-2-2) won the High Desert League and had a league-high 11 players earn all-league recognition. Sparks 17-4-1 fell in the state semifinals in a penalty kick shootout, 4-2, to eventual state champion, SECTA, and landed 10 players on its all-league list. The Raiders (5-10-1) were in the playoff hunt all season before being eliminated in the final week.
Spanish Springs Cougars
•After leading his squad to a league title, with an undefeated regular season, and back to the state tournament for the second time in four years, coach Rob Moreland was named the HDL Coach of the Year.
Moreland deflected the recognition to his players.
“It’s nice to be recognized but the kids are the ones I thank,” Moreland said. “They are the ones who did it.”
Moreland’s lightning-quick junior forward, Victor Garcia, was voted the Offensive Player of the Year.
Garcia shocked several opponents with his speed this fall, putting the Cougars in front, 1-0, just minutes into a match.
“He (Garcia) was huge … His early goals really helped us out,” Moreland said. “It will be nice to have him back next year.”
Jonathan Garcia (midfield), Gabby Vasquez (midfield), Manny Medina (defender) and Omar Trujillo (goalie) were first-team selections.
Joining the second team were, Ricardo Camacho (forward), Nestor Andrade (defender), Jonathan Andrade (defender) and Freddy Arriola (defender).
Edwin Medina (forward) and Marshall Andrews (midfield) were Honorable Mention selections.
“I think the kids did really well. I’m proud of them,” Moreland said. “We won our first league title, didn’t win the state title, but still raised the bar for Spanish Springs.”
•Off the field, the Railroaders were led by coach Frank Avilla, who earned Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in 11 years.
“You are only as good as what you are working with,” Avilla said. “It’s an award that is shared with the whole staff. Without the entire staff, we wouldn’t have the success we did.”
On the field, the Railroaders were led by scoring machine Ruben Pacheco, who was named the league MVP and landed on the All-State Team.
“To see the success he’s brought to the school and himself, it’s been a great thing for him,” Avilla said.
Juan Hernandez (midfield), Jose Mendoza (defender) and Lucio Espitia (defender) joined Pacheco as first-team selections. Hernandez and Mendoza were also all-state selections.
Luis Geisendorf (defender), Jesus Partida (midfield), Edwin Navarro (midfield) and Cesar Arroyo (defender) earned second-team accolades.
Ronaldo Hernandez (goalie), Frankie Macias (utility) and Oscar Gomez (midfield) were honorable mention selections.
“To have (11) selections based on eight other coaches, it’s a neat thing,” Avilla said.
•Anthony Chinchilla led the Raiders’ all-league party, earning Midfielder-of-the-Year recognition.
“(Chinchilla) definitely (deserved award),” Reed coach Joel Martinez said. “As a coach, it feels really rewarding. It shows there is a lot of talent at Reed High.”
Chinchilla scored nine goals and handed out seven assists this season.
Adrian Lopez (forward) was the lone other Raider to land on the first team while Julio Cortez (midfield) was the lone Raider to land on the second team.
Kevin McPartland (midfield) and Fernando Martinez (defender) earned honorable mention accolades.