Fayette County is home to the many of Georgia’s finest soccer programs. This season didn’t disappoint as McIntosh, Starr’s Mill, Whitewater, Fayette, and Sandy Creek all made the state playoffs.
McIntosh and Starr’s Mill battled all season to be the best team in the county. Both made the Class AAAAA Final Four and set records across the board. McIntosh reached the championship game for the second straight season, and Starr’s Mill overcame injuries and roster turnover to have a great campaign.
As each team reflects on the season’s journey, it’s time to hand out some All-County honors.
It was a tough decision to choose a unanimous player of the year. With many deserving candidates, two players stood out above the rest. The Co-Player of the Year award goes to Starr’s Mill midfielder Ryan Shanahan and McIntosh dynamo Addison Dattilo.
Shanahan was an offensive force and the go-to scorer for the Panthers. He is the reigning Region 3 Player of the Year and the heart of the team. He scored 13 goals and collected 12 assists this season.
Dattilo earns top honors after his work as a center back and defensive midfielder. He doesn’t have the eye-popping stats as Shanahan, but he is widely known as one of the best defensive midfielders in the state. Dattilo shut down offensives with his elite speed and tenacity in the middle. He has an adept ability to crash set pieces and win 50-50 balls.
The Coach of the Year goes to Starr’s Mill head coach Mike Hanie. It was a remarkable season for the Panthers after losing a couple standout players that were expected to be key contributors. Hanie guided a young roster with only four seniors to a 15-9 record and their first region title in seven years. Under his leadership, the Panthers only lost once in region play and allowed a region-best four goals against top competition.
Freshman of the Year goes to McIntosh’s Mason Harris. The 5-foot-10 freshman phenom was a dominant goal scorer as he racked up 15 goals and 2 assists. He was a big part of the Chiefs offensive attack, accounting for nearly 13 percent of the goals scored. Harris has a bright future and the tools to become a star at McIntosh.
The Boy’s All-County First Team is comprised of a wealth of talented stars.
The defenders are made up of Whitewater’s John St. Martin, Fayette’s Victor Canas, and McIntosh duo Jacob Stevens and Logan Brown. St. Martin scored 5 goals and had 1 assist. Canas had 8 goals and collected 6 assists. Stevens scored 1 goal, but was a defensive hound all season. Brown matched him with 2 goals with 2 assists.
The first-team midfielders include Aaron Hauck of Fayette and Whitewater duo Jon Bloch and Alejandro Narnajo. Hauck was the versatile threat for the Tigers all season. He played a mix of forward and midfield as he scored 29 goals and had 11 assists. Bloch had a whopping 14 assists and 2 goals. Narnajo was consistent with 5 goals and 6 assists.
The first-team forwards were some of the best in the state. McIntosh Jake Donaldson, Sandy Creek’s Mario Moreno, and Starr’s Mill Sam Pompeo all made the list. Donaldson is an All-State scorer that collected 20 goals and 15 assists. Moreno added 13 goals and 7 assists on the season. Pompeo was the Panthers’ leading scorer with 18 goals and 6 assists.
Starr’s Mill freshman goalkeeper Andrew Cole rounds out the All-County team. He was dominant through the playoffs with several crucial saves. He finished the year with an outstanding 1.32 goals against average.
The Boy’s All-County Second Team is just as powerful and shows the depth each team had this season.
The second-team defenders include Whitewater’s Dawson Plowman and Brennen Schmitt, Starr’s Mill defender Blake Helms, and Fayette duo Josh Lewis and Owen Mikoy. Plowman was a senior leader for the Wildcats and scored 2 goals from the back end. Schmitt makes the list as a key contributor in his freshman season. He played 15 games and quickly adapted to the speed of play at the varsity level. Helms was an All-Region center back that had 3 assists this year. Lewis and Mikoy were solid for the Tigers. Lewis scored 3 goals and Mikoy added 6 goals on the season.
McIntosh’s Arman Ostadizem joins Fayette’s Uriel Benetiz and Starr’s Mill stud Will Anong on the second-team midfielders list. Ostadizem was a solid center back for the Chiefs and an All-State selection. Benetiz scored 10 goals and had 7 assists, while Will Anong scored timely goals all season for the Panthers.
The second-team forwards list includes Cesar Colindres from Sandy Creek and Paul Kalu of Whitewater. Colindres added 12 goals and 6 assists this season. Kalu was an underrated scorer for the Wildcats. He added 9 goals and 2 assists while being a dangerous option at the top of the offensive attack.
The goalkeeper is Lance Ibarra of Whitewater. Ibarra had 9 shutouts and only allowed 6 goals in region play this year. According to his coach, he improved as a clutch goalie. Ibarra didn’t allow more than 2 goals in a game.
McIntosh’s Dylan Boerstler, Starr’s Mill tandem Luke Bennett and John Roberts earned Honorable Mention recognition. They are joined by Our Lady of Mercy stars Ejamai Ohiweri and Rhys Lawlor on the list.
To see more photos from soccer season, click here.