Kennon named district MVP
Holt tabbed top coach; four other Cats on First Team

Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 2, 2004 -- After a season in which the Sulphur Springs Wildcats were at or near the top of the district soccer standings, they received their just desserts Thursday during All-District 14-4A voting by coaches.

Senior Nick Kennon, a coach on the field as sweeper, was named the district's Most Valuable Player, coach Andy Holt was named Coach of the Year for the second straight season, four other Wildcats were named First Team, three were on Second Team and another named Honorable Mention.

The Wildcats' top three scorers -- senior midfielders Layne Ashmore and Blake Birchfield and senior forward Wilfredo Larios -- were all First Team selections along with senior defender Brody Dyer. On Second Team were senior midfielder Jim Grand-Lienard, sophomore defender Blake Holly and junior defender John Fox. Sophomore goal keeper Jeremy Potter was Honorable Mention.

Defensive MVP went to Mount Pleasant senior Luis Zuniga, Offensive MVP to senior Sung He Kim of Pleasant Grove, and Newcomer of the Year was Paris sophomore Antonio Ibarra.

Holt was pleased with the recognition his team received after finishing as the district runner-up behind Mount Pleasant.

"The other coaches in the district recognized we've got some pretty skilled players, and the voting reflects that," said Holt. "I'm real proud of Nick. He deserves that title of Most Valuable Player.

"He brings his 'A' game very time out, and pretty much coaches the team out there. At the sweeper position, you've got to know where to put the defenders and where you can see the field. He knows the game well and he's an extremely good soccer player."

He said the tandem of Kennon, Dyer, Fox and Ashmore complemented each other well as they helped contain other teams to just four goals during 12 district games.

About each player:

Nick Kennon, sweeper -- The Co-Defensive MVP of the district last year, Kennon was give the top award this season. "Coaches saw he has the skills and the talents to excel in high school and play in college," Holt said.

Wilfredo Larios, forward -- Was third on the team in goals scored with 12, including the only goals of the match in 1-0 district wins over Pleasant Grove and Mount Pleasant.

Blake Birchfield, left outside midfielder -- A four-year letterman, Birchfield repeated his All-District performance of last year. He was second on the team in scoring with 13 goals, including the only two in his final district game.

Layne Ashmore, midfielder -- A team captain, he led the team in scoring with 14 goals after moving over from goal keeper, which he played last season. He also played goalie during shootouts.

Brody Dyer, left fullback -- "I thought Brody had a really good year, an excellent year," Holt said. "He never had a bad game, and the work he did made Nick's job easier."

Jim Grand-Lienard, right outside midfielder -- Scored the tying goal against Paris, enabling the Wildcats to win the game in a shootout. Used his speed to get the ball up the field.

Blake Holly, defender -- Was one of only two sophomores on the All-District squad.

John Fox, defender -- "John was one of those guys that made our defense work," Holt said. "He and Blake, Layne and Nick all worked really well together."

Jeremy Potter, goal keeper -- After getting promoted due to an injury to starter Aaron Ball, Potter responded by allowing just four goals in district.

Complete Team

MVP -- Nick Kennon, Sulphur Springs senior

Defensive MVP -- Luis Zuniga, Mount Pleasant senior

Offensive MVP -- Sung He Kim*, Pleasant Grove senior

Newcomer of the Year -- Antonio Ibarra, Paris sophomore

Coach of the Year -- Andy Holt, Sulphur Springs

First Team

Forwards -- Aaron Stevens, Paris senior; Wilfredo Larios, Sulphur Springs senior; Brandon Hancock, North Lamar senior; Eddie Gutierrez, Mount Pleasant senior

Midfielders -- David Saldivar*, Mount Pleasant senior; Jorge Vinuela*, Pleasant Grove senior; Lupe Ortega, Paris senior; Blake Birchfield, Sulphur Springs senior; Layne Ashmore, Sulphur Springs senior

Defenders -- Alejandro Barboza*, Mount Pleasant senior; Chris Peterman*, Pleasant Grove junior; Brody Dyer, Sulphur Springs senior; Jorge Ochoa, Texas High junior; Marcus Manthey, North Lamar senior; Jason Wheeler, Paris senior

Goal keeper -- Randy Foster, Mount Pleasant senior

Second Team

Forwards -- Tyler Creamer, Paris senior; Clint Foster, Mount Pleasant sophomore; Jon Bower, Texas High senior

Midfielders -- Steven Tyler, Pleasant Grove senior; Tate Turnipseed, North Lamar freshman; Cody Elliott, Texas High senior; Cesar Martinez, Mount Pleasant junior; Jim Grand-Lienard, Sulphur Springs senior

Defenders -- Daniel Steele, Pleasant Grove junior; Ramon Hernandez, Mount Pleasant senior; Blake Holly, Sulphur Springs sophomore; Omar Johnson, Texas High junior; Wes Malone, North Lamar senior; John Fox, Sulphur Springs junior

Goal keeper -- Andy Cheetham, Pleasant Grove senior

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