COVINGTON, Ga. — It's been six years since The Covington News has given you an all-county soccer team, and we promise there won't be another six-year gap between this one and the next one. There's just too much soccer talent in this area to warrant such an absence of recognition.
Eastside dominated the 2018 All-Covington News soccer first team both on the boys and girls sides, but it was an Alcovy Lady Tiger and a Newton Ram getting the nod for girls and boys Players of the Year. That said, a pair of Eastside players swept the Freshman of the Year honors, as did both girls and boys coaches.
In all, 16 Eagles occupied first team or top player spots -- not surprising since both squads made Class AAAA Sweet 16 playoff runs and were the only schools in the area to make a postseason appearance, apart from the Social Circle boys who lost in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs.
Check out the rest of our All-Covington News soccer team, and watch for the full treatment of it, complete with feature stories and Q&As from coaches and players and more photos in our Sunday June 10 edition.
2018 All-Covington News Boys First Team
COACH OF THE YEAR: Champ Young, Eastside
Eastside’s head coach keeps inching his program closer and closer to breakthrough status. Young gets the most out of his players, and shows a rare fearlessness by regularly scheduling a brutal non-region schedule to get his players prepped for postseason. Eastside finished with a 10-6-4 record, including a 4-1 mark in Region 4-AAAA, good enough for runner-up status. The Eagles knocked off a No. 1 ranked team in Woodward Academy back in March and found its way to its own top-10 ranking toward the end of the season.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tariq Davis, Newton
The Rams’ senior striker led the county in goals with 26 which smashed the Newton High school record for goals scored in a single season. Davis added five assists to his total and helped the Rams bolt out to a 5-0 start the 2018 season before Newton cooled off to finish a game and a half out of a playoff spot.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Jordan Beam, Eastside
Beam came into his introductory high school season with hefty expectations, and he didn’t disappoint. In a county with solid young talent throughout, Beam started 14 games and scored 11 goals for the Class AAAA Sweet 16 squad. When Beam wasn’t playing at Eastside, he was taking his talents abroad, further showcasing himself as one of the best young soccer athletes in Georgia.
GK Jackson Gann, Eastside — The senior keeper recorded 56 career starts in the net for Eastside, and finished his 2018 season with seven shutouts.
MF Creighton Goerner, Eastside — As a sophomore, Goerner showed promise and potential, scoring eight goals in 18 games.
MF Alfreado Gonzalez, Newton — The junior’s 12 goals was good enough for third on the Rams’ team behind POY Tariq Davis and Donta Grayson.
LM Conrad Martin, Jr., Alcovy — Solid defender who got the nod for All-Region 3-AAAAAA first team honors.
FW Donta Grayson, Newton — Torched opposing goalies with 21 goals for a high scoring Newton squad. Also added s10 assists.
FW Kade Mote, Eastside — Leading goal scorer for the Eagles with 17 in 18 games.
LB Jackson Jolley, Eastside — Junior left-back had seven goals while starting 18 games. Was named to the DiVarsity All-State team along with seniors Zach Glover and Jackson Gann.
FW Zach Glover, Eastside — Bolstered the Eagles’ front line with 13 goals through 18 games.
CB Tristan Aldridge, Eastside — Solid sophomore defender who started all 18 games and was instrumental in the Eagles’ seven shutouts in the 2018 season.
MF Kevin Manley, Eastside — Another strong sophomore who controlled the midfield defensively, freeing up Goerner and Beam to create scoring opportunities. Also scored one goal in 18 starts.
F Walker Thomas, Social Circle — The sophomore forward and midfielder tallied a team-high 18 goals and 38 points for a Redskins team that made a return to the Class AA state playoffs after one year away.
2018 All-Covington News Boys Honorable Mention
T.J. Mason, Newton; Dallas Dally, Social Circle; Andrew Tamayo, Alcovy; Jordan Evans, Alcovy; Gio Penaloza, Newton; Tyler Davis, Eastside; Alec Daley, Newton.
2018 All-Covington News Girls First Team
COACH OF THE YEAR: Joel Singleton, Eastside
Singleton guided the Lady Eagles to their first state playoff appearance since the 2012 season, and did so with no fewer than five freshmen in his starting lineup. With such a strong nucleus returning for the 2019 season, it seems logical to expect Eastside not to take another five-year break between postseason berths.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kaliya Eutsey, Alcovy
We considered Eastside senior Madison Morvik and even Lady Eagles freshman Aralyn Everett, but Eutsey won out for player of the year simply due to the fact that her presence as the county’s top goal scorer with 29 goals and three assists meant so much to a Lady Tigers squad that struggled to find consistency at times. The junior will join an extremely talented class of county standouts next season.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Aralyn Everett, Eastside
Everett was simply phenomenal in her high school debut season, tallying 28 goals and 11 assists while drawing a start in all 18 Eastside games. The freshman striker was part of an amazing aggregation of underclass talent for coach Singleton.
GK Emily Manfredi, Eastside — Senior keeper recorded 60 saves with a goals against average of 1.6.
GK Anna Shelton, Eastside — Shelton wasn’t far behind her senior teammate in the net as the freshman stopped 58 would-be scores with an impressive 0.88 goals against average.
MF Madison Morvik, Eastside — One of Singleton’s best leaders in his program, not just during her senior year, but throughout her entire Eastside career. Morvik tallied 22 goals and six assists in 19 starts.
F Sydney Ziglar, Alcovy — Ziglar, a senior, combined with Eutsey for a more-than-adequate one-two goal scoring punch with her 20 scores and 20 assists. She was one point off (60) for tying Eutsey with the team lead.
MF Baylea Payne, Alcovy — Payne, another senior, rounded out the Lady Tigers’ “big three” as booted 12 shots past opposing keepers while also dishing out five assists.
F Mya Cummings, Eastside — Eastside sophomore who netted 10 goals and had five assists while splitting time between forward and midfielder.
DF Camille Johnson, Eastside — A team captain, Johnson joined Morvik to provide incredible senior leadership for Singleton’s group of talented freshmen and sophomore standouts. Johnson scored a goal and added an assist and two saves through her 19 starts.
DF Elizabeth Ozburn, Eastside — Ozburn bounced back from injury to start 18 of Eastside’s 19 games. The sophomore defender finished the season with a pair of goals, four assists and five saves.
F/DF Malaya Yamasaki, Eastside — Yamasaki will move into the senior leadership role next year with a reputation of being one of the area’s most versatile players. She scored seven goals, recorded three assists and had eight saves while splitting time at defender and forward.
2018 All-Covington News Girls Honorable Mention
Daphne Ramirez, Alcovy; Makayla Maragh, Newton; Bria Sims, Newton; Kyli Greer, Eastside; Lauren Gates, Eastside; Ayannah McGee, Newton.