SIKESTON - Blake Taylor had a shining and distinguished soccer career at Sikeston and will leave the program with many of the scoring records.
Taylor played four years for head coach Derrick Long and set or tied the record for career goals, goals for a season, career points leader and assists leader.
"Blake is just a great person," said Long. "He is the type of athlete a coach always wants to have. Blake was always looking to improve himself in practice and is just a hard-worker. It is going to be tough next year to not have Blake on the sidelines. We are close and it is like losing a brother."
Taylor is the all-time career points leader at Sikeston with 248 and the career leader in goals with 96. With 56 career assists, Taylor eclipsed the old mark of 52 set by J.R. Bizzell, who graduated in 2005. Taylor scored 30 goals this season which tied the record set by Adam Garrett in 2001.
Sikeston won their first two district titles in the program's history with Taylor and the Bulldogs set the program record for wins during Taylor's tenure.
"All of our success stemmed through Blake," said Long. "One person does not make a team, but he was a big piece to the puzzle. Blake could do anything on the field, he scored goals when we needed him, was very unselfish with the extra pass and could play defense. We will miss him. No matter what the future holds for Blake, he will be successful."
Taylor's journey into soccer began at the age of eight playing little league soccer at Sikeston. Taylor gives credit to Long for helping him out even at an early age.
"Coach Long has been the guiding force behind my success in soccer," said Taylor. "He saw me playing one time in a little league game and came and talked to my parents. He told them that he saw some potential in me to be a good soccer player."
Always humble, Taylor preferred to shy away from the personal credit and wanted to offer thanks to others for his success.
"It has been a great ride in my soccer career," said Taylor. "A lot of people have supported me starting with my parents (Richard and Stephanie Taylor) who are always there for me. I would like to thank all my little league coaches for taking the time to try and teach me the game. Coach Long and Doyle Noe (Sikeston assistant) are great coaches and they made us all work hard everyday in practice. I could not have been half the player I am without my teammates. They are the ones that pushed me to be a better player.
"I had the best time playing at Sikeston. It was an awesome experience. In my four years on varsity we won two district titles. I can't explain how it felt to win those titles. It is an experience everyone should have the privilege to accomplish while they are in high school. It went by so fast and I would like to tell kids that are thinking about playing or are playing soccer, that when you get out on the field to always work hard and do your best."
While Taylor is finished with his soccer career at Sikeston, the basketball season is just around the corner and Taylor is expected to be a big contributor for the team. As a junior, Taylor was a key player off the bench for a Bulldog team that finished second in Class 4.
Sikeston head basketball coach Gregg Holifield is very appreciative of his senior point guard.
"Blake is an extremely hard-worker," said Holifield. "He brings to the table a great team attitude, is very unselfish and his main goal and objective is for the team to win. You can not ask for a better, hard-working player than he is. Blake is a team leader and just has a great attitude on and off the court."