Great season = record awards

Two named to Western Slope All-League team

The honors have come in for the Moffat County High School boys soccer team after its best season in more than 10 years.

Junior Miguel Martinez and senior Rowan Dubois were named to the Western Slope All-League Team.

Junior Schuyler Hammond was named to the honorable mention team.

"This year's team has helped Moffat County soccer gain respect," coach Jeff Hammond said. "When you sweep four teams in the league, that tends to happen."

The higher a team finishes in the Western Slope League, the more awards it draws. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the league with a 7-4-1 record. Their two first-team all-league awards are the most for the Bulldogs since the 1992 season.

Martinez, who moved to Craig from Mexico this year, was second on the team in goals (nine) and tied for first in assists (six). He was named as one of the top 11 players in the WSL, which merits all-state honors.

"Miguel had tremendous accuracy, consistency and amazing ball control," coach Hammond said. "His great, humble attitude was an asset to our team as well."

While Martinez and leading scorer Pepe Loya-Mendoza received all of the glory for the goals, the Bulldog defense, including DuBois and Hammond, kept the games close.

The Bulldogs allowed 22 goals during the regular season, good enough for the third-best defense in the league. DuBois' bright orange shoes and Hammond's bright red hair were vibrant and consistent in the backfield. Along with Andres Valencia-Lopez, Jake Bilodeau and goalie Malcolm Hillewaert, the D had five shutouts during the season. The Bulldogs allowed more than three goals only three times this year. Two of those games were against playoff teams, and the other four-goal game was the season-opening loss to Class 5A Fruita, 4-2.

"Rowan and Schuyler had tremendous speed, and if one of them wasn't around the ball, the other was," he said. "Rowan continually took on guys who were bigger than him and almost always won. If goals were scored, it was because both of them made mistakes, which was rare."

If a player receives a red card during the season it makes him ineligible for all-league honors. Senior Hugo Quezada, who was honorable mention all league last year, could not repeat his post-season honors because of a card.

If Martinez remains in Craig next year, the Bulldogs will have two all-league players return.

"It looks like Juan (Valencia-Lopez) and Alberto (Olivares) will return next year, because they are under 18 and will not have enough credits to graduate," Hammond said about two of his players who moved to Craig in the middle of high school but were listed as seniors this year. "We could have a strong nucleus of players return."

Looking back on the season, Hammond was proud of the way his team played for the rookie coach.

He also liked seeing how well Western Slope teams fared in the playoffs.

Battle Mountain was the only WSL team to win in the first round but Moffat, Rifle and Glenwood Springs lost games to teams that made it into the elite eight.

Montrose made it into the semifinals before losing 1-0 to Mullen.

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