By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
After a combined 37 victories, two area titles and state runner-up finish, the Southside High School soccer programs received a double dose of recognition this past week.
The Panthers placed 11 players on the 2019 boys and girls All-Etowah County teams along with both Player of the Year awards and both Coach of the Year honors. The teams were voted on from area coaches and local media outlets.
Southside senior Savanna Knighten (pictured above) and junior Isaac Franklin received the girls and boys’ MVP honors, respectively. A forward/midfielder, Knighten finished the season as the team’s lea-ding goal scorer while helping the team outscore opponents 151-10, including 134-0 during an 18-game shutout stretch that ranged from a 2-1 loss to Homewood on Feb. 21 to a 201 loss to Montgomery Academy in the Class 4A/5A state championship game on May 10. In five playoffs games, Southside outscored the opposition by a 26-2 margin. Knighten was a first-team All-State selection.
Also named to the All-State first team, Franklin scored 31 goals and distributed 30 assists at forward. The Panthers; only defeats were a 2-1 loss to Class 4A/5A state finalist Springville in the second round of the state playoffs and a 7-5 loss to Class 6A state finalist Fort Payne. Those setbacks bookended a 10-game winning streak that included four shutouts.
Girls Coach of the Year Tiffany Cargill guided to Southside to a 21-3 record and the program’s third straight Final Four appearance. The Lady Panthers swept all area competition as Cargill was named Class 4A/5A Coach of the Year.
Boys Coach of the Year Randy Vice led the Panthers to a 16-2-1 record, an area championship and the program’s first playoff vicxtory since 2016.
Joining Knighten on the girls’ All-County team were senior goalkeeper Savanna Blackwell, senior defender Anna Motley, junior forward Makayla Moore, and senior forward Hallie-Kate Smith from Southside; senior forward/midfielder Avery Bane, senior forward Mary Reid Goodwin and senior center-midfielder Ma-kenna Beard and junior center back Alyia Al-Homoud from Westbrook Christian; junior forward Haley Swafford and sophomore defender Kinleigh Sheffield from Gadsden City; and senior defenders Abby Powell and Giana Hammond and freshman center back Taylor Russell from Glencoe.
Filling out the boys’ All-County squad were junior sweeper Carlos Herrera (20 goals in 14 games), senior goalkeeper Jaren Greene (eight shutouts), senior midfielder (106 takeaways), senior center forward Koen De Hullu (27 goals, 12 assists), senior defender Miguel Alvarez (127 takeaways) and senior forward Logan Shelnutt (20 goals in 10 games) from Southside; senior Kagan Stocks, juniors Will Partridge and Garrett Keck and sophomore Jesse Kantzler from Gadsden City; junior Derek Zatarain (11 goals, four assists in 11 games) from Eto-wah; senior Will Kelly and junior Cameron Brown (31 saves in goal) from Glencoe; and juniors Will Edwards and Jai’Shawn Cattling from Westbrook Christian.