Sterlington junior center defensive midfielder Cooper Reese may not be the first player the casual fan notices on the pitch. But when it came time to choose the Division IV District II soccer MVP, Reese was an easy choice.
"When we were getting ready to vote at the (All-District) meeting, the opposing coaches started telling me how anxious their guys were about going up against Cooper because they couldn't beat him," Sterlington coach Kyle Keyes said. "He's a physical guy and he's tough to get through. All-around, he's always one of the better players on the field. That's the reason he got MVP."
While Reese isn't flashy, he is effective.
"Cooper doesn't make all those cute moves. He just grinds away," Keyes said. "He always wins the ball."
Reese finished the season with seven goals and 13 assists while helping the Panthers (12-4-4) capture their first district championship in the program's brief history. However, his contributions can't be measured in stats.
"Cooper's the buffer between our offense and defense," Keyes said. "In basketball, you have the transition game. Cooper's the guy we rely on to cut off the transition game."
Senior Ben Fonville of Glenmora is the Offensive Player of the Year and St. Frederick junior Coy Gammage is the Defensive Player of the Year.
Joining Reese on the first team from Sterlington are juniors Duke Villarreal, Austin Booth and Sam Gilbert, and sophomore Cooper Grunsky.
Also named to the first unit were seniors Gavin Corder and Stephen Cagle and junior Blake McMullen of St. Frederick; senior Andres Guillen and sophomore Brandon Reyes of Glenmora; junior Jacob Hawkins of Delta Charter; and junior Johnathan Cruz of Rapides.
Fonville, Corder and Guillen are repeat first-team honorees.
Senior Connor White is the Panthers' lone second team representative.
Rounding out the second unit are senior Connor Biglane of St. Frederick; sophomore Daniel Sanchez of Glenmora; sophomore Elijah Blood and junior Sergio Harris of Rapides; seniors Carter Autin and Tanner Bush of Ouachita Christian; freshman Matthew Magnano of Grace Christian; seniors Alden Cupit and Colson Thorton of Delta Charter; and senior Tommy Ngo of Vidalia.
Sterlington's honorable mention selections include sophomore Ethan Thames and senior Blake Stevens.
Finishing out the honorable mention list are senior John Collin Witherington and junior Jadon Roy of St. Frederick; sophomore Daniel Rubio and senior Belquis Guerrero of Glenmora; sophomore Zac Clayton and junior Thomas Geoghegan of Delta Charter; junior Brendon Smith and senior Logan Marler of Rapides; sophomores Cade Allen and Andrew Beatty of OCS; seniors Taylor Brenner and Matthew Delrie of Grace Christian; and junior Bin Vam and freshman Alex Patterson of Vidalia.
The complete All-Division IV District II boys soccer team:
MVP — Cooper Reese (jr.), Sterlington.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Ben Fonville (sr.), Glenmora.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Coy Gammage (so.), St. Frederick.
Duke Villarreal (jr.), Sterlington
Cooper Grunsky (so.), Sterlington
Austin Booth (jr.), Sterlington
Sam Gilbert (jr.), Sterlington
Gavin Corer (sr.), St. Frederick
Stephen Cagle (sr.), St. Frederick
Blake McMullen (jr.), St. Frederick
Andres Guillen (sr.), Glenmora
Brandon Reyes (so.), Glenmora
Jacob Hawkins (jr.), Delta Charter
Johnathan Cruz (jr.), Rapides
Connor White (sr.), Sterlington
Connor Biglane (sr.), St. Frederick
Daniel Sanchez (so.), Glenmora
Elijah Blood (so.), Rapides
Sergio Haros (sr.), Rapides
Carter Autin (sr.), Ouachita Christian
Tanner Bush (sr.), Ouachita Christian
Matthew Magnano (fr.), Grace Christian
Alden Cupit (sr.), Delta Charter
Colson Thorton (sr.), Delta Charter
Tommy Ngo (sr.), Vidalia
Ethan Thames (so.), Sterlington
Blake Stevens (sr.), Sterlington
John Collin Witherington (sr.), St. Frederick
Jadon Roy (jr.), St. Frederick
Daniel Rubio (so.), Glenmora
Zac Clayton (so.), Delta Charter
Thomas Geoghegan (jr.), Delta Charter
Brendon Smith (jr.), Rapides
Logan Marler (sr.), Rapides
Cade Allen (so.), Ouachita Christian
Andrew Beatty (so.), Ouachita Christian
Taylor Brenner (sr.), Grace Christian
Matthew Delrie (sr.), Grace Christian
Bin Vam (jr.), Vidalia
Alex Patterson (fr.), Vidalia