Local Sports

Rising to the occasion

The Sebring Blue Streaks boys soccer team wasn’t easy to score against this year, pitching seven shutouts and surrendering an average of 1.6 goals per game. One key reason for those numbers was the play of goalkeeper Ethan Smith. “Ethan did an incredible job in goal this year,” said Sebring coach Keith Bowyer. “He has a lot of athleticism and thought process behind goalkeeping. He really has come a long ways in four years.” The Blue Streaks were expecting something big from their senior net-minder and he didn’t disappoint, helping the Blue Streaks return to the regional playoffs. “He made some phenomenal saves and kept us games that we might not have been in otherwise,” Bowyer said. “That played a part in our success this year.”
For his accomplishments, Smith has been selected as the 2013 Highlands Today All-Highlands Boys Soccer Player of the Year. The team Yoyi Gomez, junior, Lake Placid: Gomez notched his second-straight 10-goal season, finishing with 10 goals and two assists to pace the Green Dragons. “Yoyi has a great passion for the game,” said Green Dragons coach James Ashley. “Yoyi plays with great skill and has led the team in goals the past two seasons.  “He can play anywhere in the midfield as well as forward. He is a very dangerous attacker that gives defenses a fit when the ball is at his feet. Yoyi is one of the best players in the county and has ambitions to play at the next level. “ German Badillo, senior, Avon Park: Badillo was a strong defender for the Red Devils for the past few seasons and set a great example for the younger players to look up to. “German always gave a lot of effort and was a great team player,” said Avon Park coach Victor Munoz. Riley Watson, sophomore, Sebring: Watson scored eight goals on the season and had two assists. A physical player, Watson would just as soon go through a defender as around him. “Riley is a very tough physical player and he reads the field well,” Bowyer said. “He makes smart passes.” Osvaldo Orduna, junior, Lake Placid: Orduna is one of those players who helps makes his teammates better and when the Green Dragons scored a goal the chances were pretty good that he had a part in it. “Osvaldo’s skill allows him to draw defenders to double team him, as he assisted many teammates scoring opportunities this season,” Ashley said. “His shot is one of the most lethal that I have seen.  If there is a free kick close to the goal, Osvaldo is most likely to score.  In fact, he connected on a free kick at Clewiston, ruining their senior night.” Brooks Whidden, sophomore, Avon Park: Whidden came up with plenty of big saves for the Red Devils from his goalkeeper position this season and helped Avon Park show great improvement over the course of the year. “Brooks is a great player and has a lot of enthusiasm,” Munoz said. Filemon Chavez, junior, Sebring: Chavez had four goals and three assists on the season and was second on the team in passes. “He’s an incredibly talented ball-handler,” Bowyer said. “Players automatically know you have to give him a certain amount of respect because if you defend him too hard he’s going to go around you.” Wilfreddy Moreno, senior, Lake Placid: Moreno battled through injuries this season, but still netted four goals and had three assists in just 12 games. “Wilfreddy brings versatility to the Dragons,” Ashley said. “Wilfreddy is a strong defender and has a balance to his game through his attacking abilities. While playing through injuries as a defensive midfielder, he competed as one of the Dragons’ most dangerous attackers in the final games of the season. “   Brian Dixon, sophomore, Sebring: Dixon had eight goals and three assists on the season and was able to run past a number of defenders. “He has incredible speed and acceleration up front,” Bowyer said. “He’s the least experienced of our starters, but he was impressive. His flat-out speed is phenomenal.” Edgar Delgado, sophomore, Avon Park: Delgado had a solid campaign for the Red Devils as a midfielder and will be counted on in the next couple of seasons. “Edgar is a very good player and always gave good effort,” Munoz said. Junior Chavez, junior, Sebring: Chavez was the anchor of the Sebring defense and led the Blue Streaks in minutes per game. “He saved our butts a huge number of times,” Bowyer said. “He has a great sense of where to be and really prevent shots from happening.” Armando Calvillo, sophomore, Lake Placid: Calvillo had a strong season for the Green Dragons and has a bright future. “Armando is a speedy and tough defender,” Ashley said. “His efforts do not always reflect on the score sheet, however, very few attackers were able to get behind him. As a sophomore, he became a rock in the back. As he matures, he will bring continued leadership to the Dragon defense. “   David Magana, senior, Sebring: Magana scored four goals and had three assists for the Blue Streaks this season. “He was a nice surprise this year,” Bowyer said. “He can play end-to-end all day long.” Rigoberto Luevano, freshman, Avon Park: Luevano was all over the field for the Red Devils and played with a lot of heart and hustle. “He’s a very good player and has a bright future,” Munoz said. Nick Perez, senior, Sebring: Perez was one of the team captains and had a strong season in the backfield. “His biggest strength was he could be an attacking defender,” Bowyer said. “He generated a lot of attacks even as a defender.” Coach of the Year For leading the Blue Streaks into the regional playoffs, Sebring’s Keith Bowyer has been selected as the Highlands Today All-Highlands Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.


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