SIKESTON -- The soccer postseason honors were recently released and to no surprise, senior Blake Taylor and junior goalkeeper Scott Droddy were the top recipients in 2006.
Taylor, Sikeston's career leader in several scoring categories and Droddy, the Bulldogs' all-time saves leader were honored with the prestigious all-region selection.
"You have to be selected to the all-region team to even have a chance at the all-state team," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "I figured Blake would be there, he had a great year. And I was really hoping Scott would be there, but I wasn't for sure with the year the Notre Dame goalkeeper had. Droddy had an amazing season and he kept us in every game we played this year. He was like our anchor back there."
Taylor, an all-state soccer player the last two years, holds numerous scoring records for the Bulldogs, including career goals (96), career assists (58), career points (250), season goals (30, tied with Adam Garrett), season points (80) and goals in a game (6).
Taylor was named the region's offensive player of the year.
Droddy was named co-goalkeeper of the year. He holds school records with most shutouts in a season (8) and most saves in a season (417).
Both players were also selected as first team all-conference and first team all-district.
"All these honors these guys are getting are well-deserved," said Long. "It couldn't happen to two better guys. They work hard every day in practice. They put in the time and effort to get these awards. Blake has been a go-to guy for us for three years now and even his freshman year he was a standout for us. But the last three years he's been the reason we've made it as far as we've gotten with our program.
"We count on both of those guys so much, they're big puzzle pieces for our team. Losing Blake this year will be a struggle for us because I don't know if I'll be able to fill that void."
Picked for first team all-district was senior midfielder Chris Carnell and sophomore midfielder Timmy Hart.
"Chris Carnell has had a really good four years for us," said Long. "He's probably got the best ball skills on our team that we've ever had. If it wasn't for him Blake probably wouldn't have had as many goals because he probably assisted on 30 percent of Blake's goals over his career. He doesn't get the publicity that some of those guys did because he's just a workhorse in the midfield for us."
Carnell finished the season with nine goals and 16 assists. Hart added 11 goals and 16 assists for the Bulldogs.
"Timmy Hart is just an amazing athlete," said Long. "You can pick a sport and the guy can play it -- he's awesome. Next year he's probably going to be our go-to guy. He's going to have to step in and I'm counting on him to be our leader and our goal-scorer. He's got some big shoes to fill but I think he can do that."
Carnell and Hart were also picked for second team all-conference.
Adam Gillean, a senior defender, was picked for second team all-district.
"He's definitely one of our better players," said Long. "He was a co-captain for us. Our defense gave up a lot of shots on goal so we didn't get as many defenders as I'd like to get noticed in the all-district and all-conference stuff. But I believe Adam Gillean was well-deserving. He had to control a lot of our defense. Anytime somebody got beat he was our last man on defense. If it wasn't for him, Droddy would've had a lot more saves."
Sikeston finished its season 13-12-1, the school's third straight winning season, before losing in the district championship match to eventual state champion Notre Dame.
"With the way our season started, about midseason we were pretty much left for dead," said Long. "Then we beat that West Plains team that ended up getting third in the state. We beat them and it just kind of propelled us. We knew we had it in us to play good soccer, but for some reason it took that game to get going. Then we won eight or nine straight and we had a chance. But we had too many holes and not enough people to stop that fast Notre Dame team."
Now Long will have to find a way to replace another strong senior class. In the meantime, he can reflect on a group of seniors that helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back district championships.
"They raised our program up," said Long. "When I came here eight year ago that's what I envisioned. I just wanted to get some players through to where we can get a name for ourselves. I wanted to get to a point where people didn't look at us and be happy to play us. I think teams out there now would rather see us on the other side of the bracket when we get to districts because we have had weapons and we've been a force. I think that will continue."