Golden Boot: Joseph Stockman, Elmore County junior
The Panthers needed a new front man and Stockman delivered in a big way. He led all county players with 11 goals and he added eight assists, accounting for 47 percent of Elmore County’s goals. Stockman recorded two hat tricks including one in a Class 4A/5A section game against Tallasee. After sitting the first half due to a team rule violation, Stockman scored three goals in 30 minutes to push the Panthers to a 7-1 win over their rivals.
“His soccer IQ is very high and he has great power,” ECHS coach John Hilbish said. “He exceeded expectations a lot. We knew all those things about him already but we didn’t know he was going to do as well as he did. There were a few times if I left him in the game, he would score four or five goals in a match.”
Honorable Mention: Kaden Masters, So., Holtville; Luke Tessier, Jr., Wetumpka; Wade Phillips, Sr., Stanhope Elmore
Golden Gloves: Carter Brink, Holtville sophomore
In his second year playing goalkeeper, Brink showed tremendous strides on the field to take his play up a notch for the Bulldogs. Holtville lost all four starters from its backline from last year but Brink returned and helped organize the new defense. Brink made 56 saves and held two clean sheets in eight matches. He allowed just 1.5 goals per game.
“He started 18 games last year as a true freshman so that experience helped him,” Holtville coach Robby Broom said. “He anticipated better and understood how to communicate with them a lot better. He had a whole new back line to work worth. The biggest thing was just being more vocal and that paid off for us this year. He was confident in doing his job and he helped other guys do their job.”
Honorable Mention: Zach Grindle, Sr., Wetumpka; Hayden Holton, Sr., ECHS
Playmaker: Miles Broom, Holtville senior
There were not many goals scored by the Bulldogs that Broom was not involved in one way or another. In eight matches, Broom scored seven goals and handed out nine assists. Holtville finished the season with 22 goals scored and only six of them were not scored or assisted by Broom. The Bulldogs expected him to step up in the goals department with the departure of last year’s leading scorer Iggy Ruiz but Broom did just as much to set up teammates for goals.
“That was the biggest improvement in his game,” Holtville coach Robby Broom said. “He has always been a passer but the communication was a whole lot better. That was big everywhere on our team this year. And everyone else trusted him. They knew if they made the cut, he would find them or if they needed to drop the ball, he was going to be there.”
Honorable Mention: Alex Simmons, Jr., ECHS; Chandler Vance, Sr., Tallassee; Arly Ramirez, Sr., Stanhope Elmore
Brick Wall: Brennan Worrell, Wetumpka senior
Worrell may not have been a true defender in Wetumpka’s formation but he found himself close to the backline more often than not. Worrell was often placed in charge of shutting down any opposing attack and limiting some of the best forwards Wetumpka faced this season. He contributed five assists but he may have made an even bigger impact with the number of tackles and blocks made in his own third.
“With us losing some very experienced guys on defense, we needed him,” Wetumpka coach Desmond Knight said. “He was our glue and our communication. He was in the back early in the season to help organize everything but he also moved up to push the ball forward. He was the leader of the team.”
Honorable Mention: Seth Stevens, So., Holtville; Dylan Presciti, Sr., Stanhope Elmore; Russell Phillips, So., Tallassee
Not long before the season began, Wetumpka’s Arthur Davis lost his father to a battle with cancer. Wetumpka coach Desmond Knight said it was clear to the staff and his teammates Davis was struggling with the situation but Davis stuck with the sport and used the pitch as his sanctuary to get away from it all. His biggest moment came just two weeks into the season when his team was faced with a 2-1 deficit against Prattville with time winding down. Less than two minutes to go, Davis saw his shot hit the back of the net to help his team earn a draw against its rival.
“The gravity of that situation and with the timing of it at the beginning of the season, it was definitely on all of our minds,” Knight said. “For him to be the one to still fight for that draw and try to score… he just didn’t quit. It was definitely something special. I know that’s going to be something that will stand out to him for a long time.”
Honorable Mention: Holtville Jackson Hand scores two goals in Lincoln; Tallassee’s Chandler Vance scores first goal vs. ECHS