It isn’t a coincidence that Daniel Lemus and Dustin Rumple like to run.
It is the trait that made them two of the best midfielders in their respective districts and invaluable to their respective teams.
“If (Lemus) didn’t do his job we would get in trouble in the midfield,” Salado head coach Michael Goos said. “And we never got in that spot just because he really did a good job of keeping us connected and being able to both get up and back.
“And a lot of times that means he’s making 60-yard runs up then turning around and making a 60-yard run back to defend.”
“(Rumple) was also an all-district cross country runner,” Lampasas head coach Ryan Race pointed out.
“And that speed really helped him, and he can just go and go and go all day long up and down that wing.
“He was one guy I knew I really didn’t need to sub for regularly.”
Now, Lemus and Rumple, both seniors this past season, have one last accolade to add to their already healthy list as they are the Killeen Daily Herald Co-Midfielders of the Year.
The honor was particularly special for Rumple, who was also named Co-Midfielder of the Year in Lampasas’ district but missed the Badgers’ lone playoff game with an ankle injury.
“It’s awesome,” Rumple said. “My senior year I hurt my ankle and to get all this stuff, it’s awesome.”
Lemus, who will continue his soccer career at Howard Payne University, finished the season with 10 goals and eight assists on a talented Salado team that placed a slew of players on the All District 34-4A first team and the Daily Herald All-Area team.
Lemus said he will miss his soccer family the most but was happy to have been a part of a special team.
“It feels amazing,” Lemus said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without each other. For all of us to be on the same team together at the same little school it’s kind of a blessing.”
Race said Rumple will be similarly missed not just for his contributions on the field but also for his sense of humor.
Of course, Rumple won’t be easily replaced on the field after scoring more than 10 goals and adding more than 20 assists this past season.
Not surprisingly, Rumple said the key to his success this past season was moving at all times.
“You’ve got to anticipate where your teammates are going to go with the ball, and you’ve got to just be where the ball’s going to be all the time,” Rumple said. “You’ve got to anticipate everything.”
Rumple was very grateful for Race, who coached him his final two seasons at Lampasas and changed the team, Rumple said.
But neither Salado nor Lampasas would’ve been the same team this past year were it not for their tireless midfielders in Lemus and Rumple. And the two seniors were mutually appreciative.
“It’s humbling,” Lemus said. “It feels like a great honor to win this award.”