Five members of the Moffat County High School boys soccer team earned All-Western Slope League 3A honors for their efforts during the 2012 season.
Seniors Bryant Cox and Alan Flores were named first-team all-conference, while head coach Rusty Cox was awarded Coach of the Year in the WSL. Junior Nestor Arrellano and senior Erik Silva were given honorable mention.
The selections were made based on votes from league coaches.
All four players who earned league honors played all over the field during the season. While coach Cox looked for his best possible lineup, both Bryant and Silva spent time at forward and deep on defense. Arrellano and Flores played mostly in the midfield, but were on defense in some games as well.
Flores led Moffat County in scoring on the season and was the Bulldogs’ go-to player for taking free kicks. Bryant started off the season as a striker and was effective as a big body at the front. He later would be the center back and direct traffic as the leader of the defense.
Silva started as a defender, played forward for several games and then went back into a defensive midfield position.
The players’ versatility and ability to adapt made them key players in Moffat County’s evolving scheme.
“Everybody played everything,” Rusty said. “That helped them to appreciate what the position did and helped everybody get better.”
The players found out about their WSL honors at the team’s end-of-season banquet over pizza Tuesday night at MCHS. The common attitude they expressed was surprise, but also pride.
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it,” Flores said. “Last year I didn’t even letter, so I was kind of surprised, but I’m thankful to Rusty. We had a great year, and this is a good way to end it.”
“I guess I was kind of shocked (when I found out),” Arrellano said of his award. “I knew I would get my varsity letter, but I was shocked about honorable mention. I’m glad, though, I’m proud of it.”
Bryant Cox was happy to know he had made his mark.
“I just went out there and played my hardest and did what I could do,” he said. “It makes me feel like I had an impact on the team and on other teams.”
Rusty was voted Coach of the Year by his peers in his first year in the 3A WSL, a league which sent three teams to the playoffs and Coal Ridge all the way to the final four in the state tournament. His award was likely due to the improvement the Bulldogs showed over the course of the season, as they started out 1-4 but went over .500 over the second half of the year.
In what is also his last year of coaching the Bulldogs, Cox was honored at the recognition.
“It is cool,” Rusty said. “I think it’s cool because we came into a new conference and making Coach of the Year, it’s pretty amazing. I didn’t expect it, but it’s a cool way to end everything.”
It is Cox’s final year coaching the team, but not the end of his involvement with Moffat County soccer, which he said he considers his family.
“I love it and I’m going to miss them, but I’m going to make as many games as I can and be rooting for them,” he said. “No matter what, I’m always going to be cheering them along.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.