The Pueblo Chieftain sports staff is publishing the Best of Pueblo Preps teams for the 2018 fall sports season that include boys cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, boys tennis, girls cross-country, girls softball, girls volleyball, gymnastics and football. The Chieftain, along with Gatehouse Media, will honor each of the recipients at a June 12 banquet in Pueblo in early June. Each sport will include a most valuable player and a coach of the year..
Today, we unveil the top performers in boys soccer.
The Centennial High School boys soccer team dominated the pitch all season and lead the initial Chieftain Best of Preps list.
The Bulldogs have four players on the list and also netted the coach of the year.
Central and Pueblo West each placed two on file for their respective squads and South, East and Pueblo County all have one apiece.
Offensive player of the year
Francisco Chavez led the South-Central League with 22 goals for the Bulldogs, which was seventh in the in Class 4A.
Chavez also led the S-CL in assists with 14, also seventh in 4A. He paced the Bulldogs scoring charge this season and found the net in 12 of the Bulldogs' 18 games.
That included a streak of six consecutive games with a goal on the front end of the Bulldogs' schedule.
Teammates Grant McCafferty, Orlando Trujillo and Dylan Aragon also made the list.
Coach of the year
Jeff Sterling and the Bulldogs (14-2-2) made their deepest playoff run since their quarterfinals appearance in 2009.
After Centennial lost its opener to Pueblo West, the Bulldogs didn’t lose again until their matchup with Denver North in the postseason. They also had two ties.
Their longest streak of the season lasted just shy of six weeks from Sept. 4 through Oct. 16.
Sterling also helped lead the Bulldogs to their best record since they went 15-1-1 in 2011.
Defensive player of the year
Pueblo West’s Steve Cline allowed less than a goal per game in his senior season for the Cyclones.
In 16 matches in the net, Cline made 146 saves and allowed just 15 goals all season.
His resume also included six shut outs.
Fellow Cyclone Mark Ritz also appeared on the list. Ritz was tied for first on the team with five goals.
Other stellar appearances
Central’s Connor McDonald and Alejandro Torres received honors along with South’s Jovan Sanchez, East’s Thomas Waggener and Pueblo County’s Bryce Ying.
Torres, a freshman for the Wildcats, had an amazing season in the net. He finished with 195 saves for Central and averaged 13 per contest.