The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

December 7, 2012

Rodriguez and Baker named to Class AAA all-state first team

Compared to a lot of top players in the state, Woodrow Wilson’s Luke Rodriguez didn’t have a lot of gaudy numbers.

The senior midfielder scored six goals and had one assist.

But numbers don’t tell the story for Rodriguez, who has earned first-team honors on the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s all-state team.

“Luke didn’t score a lot, but he was the cog who made our engine run,” Flying Eagles coach Rockey Powell said. “We put him in the middle because of his vision and ability to distribute the ball.”

Rodriguez, the younger brother of 2007 state player of the year Joseph Rodriguez and three-time all-stater Kayla Rodriguez, had the footskills and soccer knowledge to play anywhere, for anybody.

He drew a lot of attention.

“Everybody has their player that people always mark up, or put two people on,” Powell said. “He was that guy on our team.”

Greenbrier East senior defender Jacob Baker also captured first-team honors.

Baker not only broke down opponents’ attacks, but he also made them pay. He scored 10 goals and had nine assists.

Woodrow senior defender Matt Sumpter was named to the second team.

“Matt anchored our defense at sweeper,” Powell said. “He does a good job of cleaning out and distributing the ball from back there.”

Oak Hill’s Jacob Kemlock, who had eight goals and 10 assists, was selected a second-team midfielder. He also earned second-team honors as a freshman.

———

The Hurricane boys soccer program has been known through the years as a defensive-minded outfit, leading the state in goals against for the past three seasons and four of the last six.

This season, things changed a little bit, mainly with the arrival of Felipe Thompson.

A foreign exchange student from Santiago, Chile, Thompson took the state by storm, scoring 47 goals to go with 11 assists in leading the Redskins to their first state championship.

Thompson captains the all-state first team.

“He is special,” Redskins coach Jim Dagostine said. “He is so physical and just bullies his way into shots. He’s one of the most creative shotmakers I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching here.

“He has such a powerful strike and is also a great passer.”

Thompson, a senior forward, was held without a goal in the 2-0 championship game against Parkersburg, but luckily for him, he had two teammates who were all-state caliber to back him.

Alex White (midfield, 13 goals, 22 assists) and Evan Miles (defense, six goals, four assists) each scored in the victory.

Miles and White are part of a core six players who lost two regular-season games in four seasons. Their final season ended with a 23-0-1 mark.

Thompson is joined at forward by Hunter White of Lewis County, who scored 28 goals (104 for his career) with 14 assists and six hat tricks, and Winfield junior Hunter Sheldon.

Rodriguez, White, Huntington’s Matt Miller and Wheeling Park’s Eric Bonar comprise the midfield.

“Eric is an outstanding midfielder with great passes, shot and dribbling,” Wheeling Park coach Mario Julian said.

Baker, Miles, Huntington’s Nathan DeMass and Parkersburg’s Tyler Broadwater are the defenders.

Spring Valley’s Jared Messer, who  made 71 career starts in goal, had a senior campaign that saw him record nine shutouts with 118 saves. He also added four assists.

George Washington junior Garrett Phillips is the other goalkeeper.

The second team consists of goalies Shane Thompson (University) and Chris Orwig (Buckhannon-Upshur); forwards Evan Eich (Nitro), Jameson McCarthy (Huntington), and Tristin Reid (Martinsburg); midfielders Garrett Warner (George Washington), second-team captain Zach Wilcoxen (Parkersburg), Christopher Holland (Spring Valley), and defenders Matt Sumpter (Woodrow Wilson), Geoff Bevil (Nitro), Caleb Barnette (George Washington), and Grant Robertson (Wheeling Park).

— Register-Herald Sports Writer Dan Stillwell contributed to this story.

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