Derek Arias named Player of the Year

2019 Commonwealth Journal High School Boys Soccer All-County Team

Somerset High School junior Derek Arias was on the top of his game this season with a county-best 22 goals scored, along with 5 assists. Arias, who made the All-County Team in 2017, has scored 47 career goals and dished out 17 career assists. And it was because of Derek Arias outstanding play at the striker position that he was named the 2019 Commonwealth Journal High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Arias was named to the All-District and All-Region teams this past fall, and he made the All-Star team at Lindsey Wilson Soccer camp.

"Derek (Arias) led the county in scoring, and he did it with other teams keying on him," Somerset High School boys soccer coach Brian Blankenship explained. "He could have scored more goals, but I only allow players to get a hat trick, and then I pulled them so as to not run-up the score on the opposing team."

"Our team beat four teams ranked higher than us--without him, that would not have happened," Blankenship added. "He will be a very important part of our team next year; I am not quite sure where we would have been without him."

Somerset High School senior Tommy Wombles was a three-year starter for the Briar Jumpers' soccer team. This season, Wombles scored 3 goals and had 9 assists - which tied for the lead on the team. For his career, Wombles scored 22 goals and had 13 assists.

"This year Tommy Wombles was our captain, and was asked to sacrifice personal offensive numbers for the betterment of the team," Blankenship commented. "However, he still contributed greatly with his deadly long throw-ins. We were 2-6 when he was switched to center back; we went 9-3-2 afterwards and took Danville, the 15th-ranked team in the state, to a 1-0 game in the regional semifinals. We could not have been as successful without him playing in the back; this is what a true captain does to lead the team."

Somerset High School senior KJ Shand scored 5 goals and dished out 8 assists this season for the Jumpers.

"KJ, a captain, was tied for second on the team with 5 goals and second on the team with 8 assists," Blankenship said. "Furthermore, KJ also made the All-Region team. We won the Thoroughbred Cup in Owensboro, and he scored a big goal against Lexington Frederick Douglass to push our season in the right direction and scored a huge goal against Mercer County in the regional quarterfinals."

Somerset High school junior Josh Tucker had 4 goals and a team-high 9 assists for the Jumpers at the midfield position.

"Josh was hurt for part of the year which limited his totals," Blankenship stated. "He made the All-District team, and he made the All-Star team at Lindsey Wilson Soccer camp. Without his offensive technical skill and defensive dogged tenacity, we could not have achieved some of our team goals; he was the engine this year."

Somerset High School junior Jared Bastin scored 5 goals and made 6 assists for the Jumpers this season, and was named to the All-District team.

"Jared scored a big goal against Lexington Frederick Douglass that allowed us to become Champions of the Thoroughbred Cup," Blankenship boasted. "Helping us win 3-1, Jared also scored a 25-yard banger against South Laurel, who won the 13th Region championship. We used him to shadow the other teams' best midfielders, and this will to help the team make our season quite successful."

Southwestern High School senior Chase Eastham scored 7 goals, and dished out 4 assists for the Warriors this season.

"Chase is just physically imposing in the way he played this year," stated Southwestern High School boys soccer coach Sean McBride. "He was our primary leader, and really gave us a boost offensively when he was moved into the midfield. Just a fantastic kid overall. I'm going to miss having him around."

Southwestern High School junior John Noyola scored 11 goals, and made 8 assists for the Warriors this season.

"John has great speed and is a solid scorer," stated McBride. "What makes him a dangerous striker is his ability to create breakaways with his defensive pressure."

For the second straight season Southwestern High School senior goalkeeper Caleb Seward was selected to the All-County Boys Soccer Team. Seward made 5.3 saves per game, and had five shutouts on the year.

"Caleb is a very skilled goalkeeper," McBride stated. "He's had a fantastic career for us."

Southwestern High School junior Riley Whitis only scored two goals, but he was a huge utility player for the Warriors this season

"Riley's importance to our team doesn't show in the stats, but he is a work horse for us," McBride vaunted. "I can put him anywhere on the field and I'll know I'm going to have solid play."

Southwestern High School junior Carson Albright led the Warriors with 16 goals, and had 5 assists.

"Carson is a dynamic scorer and had a good season for us," McBride stated. "His physicality was a problem for most teams. He has the ability to take his play to another level if he's willing to put the work in."

Pulaski County High School Jaxon Gambill scored a county second-best 21 goals, and had 5 assists. Gambill was named to the All-County Team last year as a sophomore.

"Jaxon was the spearhead to the Maroons' offense," said Pulaski County High School coach Darrell McGahan.

Pulaski County High School senior Braxton Hewitt was a huge defender for the Maroons this season, and throughout his career. As a defender, Hewitt still scored a goal and had 3 assists.

"Braxton was the key gear to both the offense and defense," McGahan boasted. "The calm in the chaos of a game, he set the tempo for the team."

Pulaski County High School junior goalkeeper Riley Howell recorded 11 saves and two shutouts this season.

"Riley kept the Maroons in games all year," stated McGahan. "His key saves allowed Pulaski County to beat Somerset and Southwestern for the first time in years."

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