Sparks, which posted an 11-4-1 record this season, saw nine players honored at the 3A North’s Sierra League meeting. Those results were released this week.
The top local honor went to Sparks coach Frank Avilla, who was named the 3A North Sierra League’s coach of the year by a vote of his peers. It’s the second time in Avilla’s six years at the SHS helm that he’s been given that distinction.
“Yes, it’s an honor, but it’s one I share with (assistant) Joel Martinez. This is a co-head coaching effort,” Avilla said. “It’s nice because it’s voted on by your peers, but it also takes the kids’ effort to get us here.
“I feel like it shows the dedication that the boys have put in and that our program is going in the right direction.”
Truckee, the 3A state champion, saw its all-state senior Max Brixey take home the player-of-the-year honors.
However, he did get plenty of competition in that race from Sparks forward Abey Quintino. The talented SHS junior scored 24 goals and gave away 20 assists in 16 games this fall. Quintino was named a first-team all-league player.
“That player-of-the-year honor usually goes to someone on the undefeated team or the league champion. We felt Abey was deserving, but in a tough league, like we play in, first team is an honorable spot as well,” Avilla said.
A pair of Sparks defenders — Danny Ornelas and Jose Mercado — also got first team nods. Both players are juniors.
Another Sparks duo — freshman forward Cesar Garcia and senior utility player Johnny Garcia — captured second-team honors.
Sparks rounded out its all-league showing by putting four players on the honorable mention list. Senior midfielders Gustavo Murillo and Oscar Carvajal, along with junior defender Ivan Torres and sophomore goalkeeper Javier Torres comprised that foursome.
At Reed, the 4A High Desert League champion Raiders saw seven players earn all-league honors. A duo of Raiders were named to the HDL’s first team — junior forward Rica Martinez and senior defender Grady McCann.
“Those guys were consistent,” Reed coach Rich Hollis said. “Rica really matured a lot from his sophomore to his junior season. He stepped up big time. It’s all about having confidence. All the kids that made all-league play with confidence.”
Senior midfielder Geno Valencia and freshman goalkeeper Luca Licciardi were second-team honorees for Reed as was junior defender Casey Campbell. Junior forward Marco Licciardi and senior midfielder-forward Jesse Mendoza were honorable mention picks.
The Spanish Springs boys team was not left out of the awards mix. After missing the postseason for six straight years, the Cougars this season earned their second straight playoff slot. Five different all-league players for the Cougars helped them do just that.
Senior midfielders Garrett Fausett and Luis Guzman led the way for Spanish Springs, earning first-team honors.
“Those two kids are quality. I think they’ll be able to move on and play at the next level. I’ll miss them next year,” first-year Spanish Springs coach Rob Moreland said. “Their skill with the ball and speed is solid. They carry themselves on the field with confidence. They are leaders.”
Another SSHS senior, Corey Tague, was a second-team pick at forward. Defender Pedro Rodriguez and forward Francisco Soto each took home honorable mention awards for the SSHS crew.
“I thought we were represented well. We came in fourth so we can’t ask for too much,” Moreland said.
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Complete list of 4A
High Desert League honors
- First team -
Rica Martinez, Reed
Sam Holcomb, Elko
Michael Bartenstein, McQueen
Garrett Fausett, Spanish Springs
Luis Guzman, Spanish Springs
Alex Shelly, Elko, Boys Soccer
Juan Villegas, McQueen
Josh Garvin, Elko
Grady McCann, Reed
Jonathan B.Olson, McQueen
Jorge Montano, North Valleys,
- Second Team -
Cory Tague, Spanish Springs
MaKenzie LuKas, Reno
Mario Rosiles, Hug
Edwin Bastos, Hug
Geno Valencia, Reed
Francisco Guevara Dutari, Reno
Sammy Reyes-Robles, North Valleys
Casey Campbell, Reed
Kalin Nielson, Elko
Tony Longoria, Hug
Luca Licciardi, Reed