While there is undoubtedly some terrific talent on the rosters of Mayfield, Graves County, Calloway County and Paducah Tilghman, it is perhaps fitting how this year’s Paducah Sun All-Purchase boys soccer team — the second-ever in Paducah Sun history — is a direct reflection of the DNA composition from the 2020 First Region Tournament.
Champion McCracken County (11-3-3), runner-up Marshall County (13-2-1), and semifinalists Murray (13-4) and St. Mary (8-5-1) combined for a 45-14-5 record, all went above .500 in district play and all finished with a .520 RPI or better on the year.
The Mustangs, Marshals, Tigers and Vikings all possessed a plethora of gifted juniors and seniors — sometimes necessary when pursuing postseason proliferation.
Only one underclassmen, St. Mary sophomore defender Daniel Willett, cracked the squad of 14 players — led by seniors in Marshall County defender Eric Hicks and McCracken County midfielder Dylan Deweese as the 2020 Paducah Sun All-Purchase “co-Players of the Year.”
In Hicks, the Marshals had a top defender who also had a nose for the posts. Over four seasons and 75 games, he scored 12 goals and notched seven assists, including a career-best six goals in 2020 under first-year coach Bryan “B.B.” Blevins. The Marshals went 60-18-6 over these last four years — most of them with Hicks somewhere on the field — with two regional runner-up finishes (2018, 2020) and a regional title (2019).
Deweese, meanwhile, has been a mainstay for the Mustangs over the last three seasons, seeing action or starts in 58 games from 2018-20. The Mustangs went 37-15-7 in the stretch, and he scored 21 goals and nine assists during the span. This includes a team-high 11 in 2019, and in this past year he valiantly filled in for an injured Caleb Madison and notched seven goals with five assists.
“Dylan can play a variety of positions,” noted McCracken County coach Michael Wiersema. “And he played three or four of them this year. And when Caleb (Madison) got hurt, he moved up front and scored some goals against some really good teams. But he just kept us very competitive. With Dylan, it was a situation where I needed to play him in about three positions.
“He stepped up during his junior year when we had everyone out, and he really stepped up this year, too. He deserves this.”
Murray’s Rosa earns top coaching nod
The Murray Tigers finished a pandemic-shortened 2020 with a strong 13-4 record, their only losses coming to First Region runner-up Marshall County (twice), First Region champion McCracken County, and a top-10 program in All “A” state champion Louisville Collegiate.
And that’s it.
Three players — senior defender Gabe Taylor, junior midfielder Chase Renick and junior striker Trey Boggess — bolstered a terrific unit from all levels of the field, and were thus also chosen for the 2020 All-Purchase Team.
But their coach, longtime skipper Jared Rosa, was selected by his peers as The Paducah Sun All-Purchase “Coach of the Year,” an honor he quickly bestows to his team.
“We had a lot of guys just rise to the occasion and fight through that adversity,” he said. “And I think it showed when we turned on and finally started playing some games. We had quite a few guys that were really good defensively, and we switched our tactic a few games into the year — just slightly tweaked it — and took off and ran with it. Went on a really good run there.
“I give credit to my team. But I mean ‘our’ team. And I give credit to my assistant coaches (Louis Phelps, Michael Mangold, Nathan Crafton). We sat down last year, and between the four of us that coach on the sideline, we have over 75 years of coaching experience between us. Without those assistants, we wouldn’t be where we are. We can pull away in four different groups, and really focus and hone in with really good special attention.”
Deep talent pool
Coaches were allowed to select only 11 players on their ballots: one keeper, four defenders, four midfielders, two strikers. The inclusion of extra positions is the result of ties, but also is a clear indication of just how much talent could’ve easily been on this team in this brief, but bright, season. Even some of region’s key players were left off of this highly-talented list. McCracken County’s Reese Bohde, Mayfield’s Diego Juarez, Maynor Meija and Jesus Carmona, Marshall County’s Tyler Treas, Calloway County’s Dalton Puckett and Jude Bazzell, Graves County’s Kaden Slack, and Murray’s Conner Blalock and Josh Eaton all earned first-team, second-team or honorable mention honors at the completion of the 2020 First Region Tournament from the coaches association.
Parity, it seems, made a strong case.
2020 Paducah Sun All-Purchase Boys Soccer Team
DEF: Drake May, Sr., Marshall County
DEF: Daniel Willett, Soph., St. Mary
DEF: Eric Hicks, Sr., Marshall County
DEF: Gabe Taylor, Sr., Murray
DEF: Max LaFont, Sr., McCracken County
MF: Jack Roof, Jr., St. Mary
MF: Dylan Deweese, Sr., McCracken County
MF: Chase Renick, Jr., Murray
MF: Keifer Court, Sr., Marshall County
MF: Jaxon Miller, Sr., McCracken County
STRIKER: Trey Boggess, Jr., Murray
STRIKER: William Lynch, Jr., Marshall County
STRIKER: Michael Lurtz, Sr., St. Mary
KEEPER: Ben Burkeen, Sr., Marshall County
Co-POY: Eric Hicks, Marshall County; Dylan Deweese, McCracken County
Coach of the Year: Jared Rosa, Murray
Caleb Madison, Sr., McCracken County
Gavin O’Donley, Sr., McCracken County
Hayes Parish, Sr., McCracken County
Collin Riley, Jr., Marshall County
Jack Bell, Sr., St. Mary
JB Eck, Sr., St. Mary
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