Angel Hernandez and Carlo Mosnia were the two players Belton head boys soccer coach Tarcisio Mosnia didn’t have to worry about.
Multi-year starters, the senior pair was two-thirds of the total returning starters the Tigers had as they entered a tough District 8-5A that included newcomer Waco Midway among others looking to knock Belton off its district throne.
“It’s difficult to talk about it, but I don’t think the expectations were there from a lot of people,” Tarcisio Mosnia said.
But for the fifth straight year and seventh out of the last eight, the Tigers (18-3-4) once again reigned supreme, securing the 8-5A championship in the final week of the season.
For their accomplishment, Belton, which lost to Flower Mound Marcus 2-0 in the Region I-5A area playoff game Friday at Midlothian, earned three All-District 8-5A superlatives, including Offensive MVP for Hernandez, Goalkeeper MVP for Carlo Mosnia and Coach of the Year for Tarcisio Mosnia on Monday.
“That’s the luxury I had with those two guys. Angel could play up front, he could play midfield, I could even put in him the back if I wanted to — he was very flexible,” Tarcisio Mosnia said.
“(And) if it wasn’t for (Carlo in goal), I don’t know what would have happened (this season). ... He just kept us in (games).”
He wasn’t the only one.
In his first season on varsity after being forced to sit out last season following a move from Georgia, Ellison junior Mohamed Balde’s impact was unmistakable.
An offensive threat as well, scoring nine goals with four assists on the season, Balde’s presence on defense was enough to earn the Eagles junior Defensive MVP following a magical season that snapped a 12-year playoff drought at Ellison (16-7-1).
“He was a player we were able to use both offensively and defensively,” Ellison coach Niles Dunnells said. “His speed, his height and just his awareness and knowledge of the game provided attacks for us and, using him defensively, ... he was a strong presence in the air and he kind of gave us someone in space that could win those balls that we may have missed last year.”
Harker Heights freshman defender Cody Cook was brought up from JV for the start of district because Knights head coach Jared Cruddas needed a change on defense. And in helping Heights (14-9-4) reach the playoffs for the third straight season, Cook more than proved his worth, enough to be selected as a surprise all-district Newcomer of the Year.
“He stepped in and shut down some of the district leading attackers,” Cruddas said of the 5-foot-4 Cook. “It was a big surprise for us. ... And it was a big surprise he got newcomer of the year because there were some high (quality) candidates out there.”
Waco Midway junior Leo Peralta was named 8-5 District MVP while Panthers senior Aaron Wible earned Midfielder MVP honors.
Joining the Tigers trio of superlatives, Belton also had a district-leading eight first-team representatives, including junior Nick Amato and Cesar Cruz and seniors Cody Bartek, Cory Entrop, and Timothy Williams.
Ellison and Harker Heights, which finished third and fourth, respectively, in the district standings, each had three more first-team honorees. Eagles junior Nathan Diederich, who missed all of last season with a brain injury, was joined by senior teammates Ryan Stuckey and Ryan Telles, while the Knights had a trio of senior first-teamers in Ethan Roden, Chris Perez and Jordan Foster. Copperas Cove had two first-teamers, seniors Anthony Galik and Spencer Belle, while Killeen and Shoemaker had one first-team selection apiece in Roos senior Daniel Carrizales and Grey Wolves’ senior Wezley Norman.
ALL-DISTRICT 8-5A BOYS TEAM
District MVP—Leo Peralta, jr., Waco Midway
Offensive MVP—Angel Hernandez, sr., Belton
Defensive MVP—Mohamed Balde, jr., Ellison
Midfielder MVP—Aaron Wible, sr., Waco Midway
Goalkeeper MVP—Carlo Mosnia, sr., Belton
Newcomer of the Year—Cody Cook, fr., Harker Heights
Coach of the Year—Tarcisio Mosnia, Belton
Belton — Cesar Cruz (jr.), Cory Entrop (sr.), Timothy Williams (sr.), Nick Amato (jr.), Cody Bartek (sr.); Copperas Cove — Anthony Galick (sr.), Spencer Belle (sr.); Ellison — Nathan Diederich (jr.), Ryan Stuckey (sr.), Ryan Telles (sr.); Harker Heights — Ethan Roden, (sr.), Chris Perez (sr.), Jordan Foster (sr.); Killeen — Daniel Carrizales (sr.); Shoemaker — Wezley Norman (sr.); Temple — Diego Guajardo (jr.), Ryan Snow (soph.); Waco Midway — Brian Campos, Jorge Maldonado, Rowan Meyer, Andrew Wible.
Belton — Thomas Shelburne (soph.), Jose Guzman (soph.), Keegan Valentino (sr.), Ryan Parker (jr.), Scott Carnley (sr.); Copperas Cove — Dallas Murchison (sr.), Ricky Perez (jr.); Ellison — Will Barbrow (jr.), Matthew Charlton (sr.), Donald Gamblin (sr.), Harker Heights — Tirstan Huber (jr.), Nick Pirino (sr.), Layne Broihier (soph.); Killeen — Bernardo Moreno (jr.); Shoemaker — Aquila Nixon (sr.); Temple — Cole Martin (fr.), Seville Harris (jr.); Waco Midway — Emanuel Barbus, Austin Carter, Gerardo “BuBu” Alvarez, Conrad Delreal.
Belton — Erik Rodriguez, Peter Shelburne, Brandan Coulter; Copperas Cove — Austin Gaugh, Josh Odum, Anthony Velarde; Ellison — Anthony Osburn, Juan Pulido, Bryan Myszka; Harker Heights — Antonio Rodriguez, Austin Roden, Sean Ortega; Killeen — James Houston, Min Ji, Selvin Delcid; Shoemaker — Joshua Lichtenwalner, Angel Jasso, Demarcus Kennedy; Temple — Michael Tay, Tinashe Meki, Cruz Martinez; Waco Midway — Danny Delreal, Ben Morrison, Josue Santa Cruz.