SIKESTON -- Sikeston Bulldog senior Blake Taylor became the first two-time all-state soccer player in school history as the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association released its all-state team recently.
Taylor was selected as a first-team forward for the second straight year after leading the Bulldogs to the Class 2, District 1 championship match.
Taylor was an honorable mention all-state selection as a sophomore.
Junior teammate Scott Droddy was also recognized as he was picked for honorable mention all-state goal keeper.
Taylor 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 as well.
Further demonstrating the significance of first-team all-state is the fact that Sikeston has only had one other player selected, J.R. Bizzell in 2004.
"It's big for a small school down here for him to open up eyes," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "He's held in high regard in a lot of coaches' eyes up in the St. Louis area. That's why a lot of colleges are hard after him right now."
Long said Taylor's game-winning goal against Notre Dame in the district championship game in 2004 was the turning point.
"That big goal he scored his sophomore year over Notre Dame kind of gave him his confidence," said Long. "That game-winner in the fourth overtime just put his name out there and he's been hard-core ever since."
Taylor led the Bulldogs to back-to-back district titles as a sophomore and junior over Notre Dame. The run ended this year as Notre Dame defeated Sikeston 3-0 on its way to a state championship.
Droddy's selection came as a minor surprise to Long, but a welcome one at that.
"It's a very big deal for Droddy to get picked, especially with the amount of goals we let in," said Long. "Our defense was real young this year, but he was a rock back there. I think he's been overlooked, last year especially. It's just good to get his name on there so now people will notice him."
Droddy was named the region's co-goalkeeper of the year. He holds school records with most shutouts in a season (8) and most saves in a season (417).
"He's just a heck of an athlete," said Long. "He has great eye-hand coordination and the way he steals balls out of the air is just amazing to me. He has no fear in the box. He saved so many point-blank shots this year and that opened a lot of eyes."