Salado was flawless during district, and the Eagles’ postseason awards haul was almost equally impressive.
Throughout the District 18-4A schedule, it was clear no team compared to Salado as the Eagles cruised to an undefeated championship, allowing just two goals in the process.
The run propelled Salado into the playoffs, where it reached the third round, and earned the recognition of every other program in the district.
The Eagles emerged with six of the nine superlatives awarded on the all-district list and occupied eight of the 23 first-team spots — twice as many as any other squad — and Alex Pierce led the way.
The junior was named most valuable player after helping Salado outscore its district opponents by 71 goals, including four shutout victories by at least seven goals.
Along with Pierce’s honor, Salado also possessed the offensive and defensive player of the year with juniors Max Markham and Cooper Chambliss, respectively, earning the accolades, while teammate Cody Roquemore, a freshman, was named newcomer of the year.
Additionally, the Eagles coaching staff was recognized with head coach Jared Cruddas being named coach of the year and Matt Figlestahler receiving the award for junior varsity coach of the year.
The superlatives earned each player a spot on first team, where they were joined by teammates Nico Lemus, Chris Ortiz, Andrew Gilmore and Cooper Sanders. Furthermore, Morgan Adams, Jackson Husung and Juaquin Tobias represented Salado on the second team.
Lampasas was the only other area team to receive a superlative as Landon Richardson was named freshman of the year. Rounding out the superlatives, Academy’s Ty Heartherley was named goalkeeper of the year, while teammate Blake Bundy shared the midfielder of the year award with Burnet’s Jose Flores.
The Badgers produced the second most all-district selections with eight, including first-team members Cody Woods, Gavin Robinson, Victor Castruita and K.J. Stephens. Cruz Lucio, Andrew Gant, Nate Abken and Richardson landed on the second team for Lampasas.
Gatesville, Florence and Lake Belton each placed a player on the first team and three on the second team.
Luis Macias represented the Hornets on the first team, and teammates Morgan Clary, Aveyn Sarinana and Ramon Medina landed on the second team.
Augustin Gutierrez received first-team recognition for the Buffaloes, and Lake Belton’s Hector Herrera joined him on the squad, while Florence’s Martin Mendoza, Jose Martinez and Jorge Mendez and Lake Belton’s Angel Mireles, Dawson Vuong and Tristan Robin were placed on the second team.
ALL-DISTRICT 18-4A BOYS SOCCER TEAM
MVP — Alex Pierce, Salado.
CO-MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR — Blake Bundy, Academy; Jose Flores, Burnet.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Cooper Chambliss, Salado.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Max Markham, Salado.
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR — Ty Heartherley, Academy.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR — Landon Richardson, Lampasas.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR — Cody Roquemore, Salado.
JV COACH OF THE YEAR — Matt Figlestahler, Salado.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Jared Cruddas, Salado.
Salado—Nico Lemus, Chris Ortiz, Andrew Gilmore, Cooper Sanders, Pierce, Markham, Chambliss, Roquemore.
Lampasas—Cody Woods, Gavin Robinson, Victor Castruita, KJ Stephens.
Academy—Dylan Egger, Aidan Lambert, Bundy, Heartherley.
Jarrell—Henry Thaboe, Kristokh Garcia.
Burnet—Diego Escamilla, Flores.
Lake Belton—Hector Herrera.
Salado—Morgan Adams, Jackson Husung, Juaquin Tobias.
Lampasas—Cruz Lucio, Andrew Grant, Nate Abken, Landon Richardson.
Academy—Carson Costa, Camilo Reyes, Lucas Sanderson.
Jarrell—Enrique Contraes, Cayden Sanchez, Joseph Woolsey.
Burnet—Luis Chavez, Jacob Howard, Andres Perez-Huerta.
Gatesville—Morgan Clary, Aveyn Sarinana, Ramon Medina.
Lake Belton—Angel Mireles, Dawson Vuong, Tristan Robin.
Florence—Martin Mendoza, Jose Martinez, Jorge Mendez.
HONORABLE MENTION (local schools)
Salado—Ryan Havelka, Grant Sellers, Trip Mitchell.
Lampasas—Nick Harron, Tyler Garcia, Colton Paxton.
Gatesville—Enrique Rojas, Braeden Shuemake, Juan Angel Almendariz.
Lake Belton—Nathan Ogden, Aidan Castillo, Chason Hamson.
Florence—Fernando Tejeda, Jake Podhajsky, Angel Perez.