The 2022 season was expected to be a rebuilding season for Sylacauga High School’s boys soccer team but instead, the Aggies seemed to reload. Sylacauga finished with a 12-5-2 record and they fell to Pike Road in the first round of the AHSAA Class 4A-5A playoffs.
Sylacauga head coach Billy Faircloth credits his seniors for the success that they had this season.
“We kind of overachieved,” Sylacauga head coach Billy Faircloth said. “We had a huge graduating class the year before and now we turn around and have 10 graduate this year. I’m fortunate that six of those guys got recognized for all-county. They all did great; I’m going to miss the fool out of them. They have been anchors for us. They were the heartbeat of the team. All six of them were starters, and most of them didn't sub out. I don't know how many times I took them off the field in most games. These will be truly missed.”
The Aggies had six players recognized on the All-Talladega County soccer team.
Camden Faircloth earned the Golden Boot Award. Faircloth played a major role in Sylacauga’s success on offense in 2022. The senior scored 16 goals and dished out 22 assists for the Aggies. The 22 assists this season ties Faircloth for first all-time for assists in a season at Sylacauga.
“With Camden, it’s kind of a dad moment for me,” Faircloth said. “ He had a solid year. We moved him from the wing to the forward position and let him play striker this year. I think he surprised a lot of people this year because he is faster than people gave him credit for and he has a nasty shot. The thing that Camden did so well was setting people up and getting assists. He tied Cole Grogan for most assists in a season in our program. He had a ridiculous year.”
Franklin Perez earned the Box to Box Midfielder Award. Perez had a stellar 2022 season as he recorded 35 goals and seven assists for the Aggies.
“Franklin is Franklin,” Faircloth said. “ If you get the ball on his foot and give him some space and he’s taking shots. He will pat Camden on the back because most of the goals that Franklin got Camden had an assist on. Most of the goals that Camden scored, Franklin had an assist on. They were feeders to each other. The energy drove off of them. Between Franklin, Camden, and Preston Bowen we are going to have to find an offensive attack coming up.”
Preston Bowen was selected to the all-county team. Bowen was killed in a car accident on June 27. For Faircloth losing Preston Bowen has been painful. Faircloth is very close friends with the Bowen family which makes this loss harder for him. Faircloth said that Bowen played a major role in the Aggies’ success in 2022.
“Preston we called him a utility player,” Faircloth said. “I could ask Preston to go anywhere and he would play. He was an aggressive and feisty guy. He’s a stand-up kid. His family has gone through so much and I think it will be big that he was awarded all-county. Who would've known what we've been going through now? That kid was the heart of our team. I could remember going to the Golden Goal Tournament and Preston was going through the process of joining the Air Force National Guard. We played Friday night and we beat Collinsville which was huge for us to beat a championship-caliber team. Preston wasn’t there on Saturday because he had to go for his guard stuff. We got drilled in both games on Saturday. We knew then that we were missing him in the middle. He was such a solid piece of our offense as far as possessions and setting things up. He didn’t score a lot of goals but the work that he put in makes him hard to replace. “
Aaron Roland, Hudson Hodges, and Dexter Tai also earned all-county honors.
Faircloth was named the Talladega County Soccer Coach of the Year.
“I haven't been that in a while but it’s those boys,” Faircloth said. “ That’s those six and the other 16 that played. I don't get the luxury of saying that we had so many wins without those kids. I’m blessed to coach them. I just finished year 20 of coaching soccer at Sylacauga High School as an assistant coach, a middle school coach, and the varsity coach since 2018. I bleed for this program. I don't have any plans of going anywhere any time soon… I’ll coach soccer even if I get out of teaching tomorrow. I would stay and coach soccer until I couldn't coach it anymore.”
Lincoln also had a solid 2022 season. The Golden Bears finished with a 16-8-1 record. The 16 wins is a school record for Lincoln. The Golden Bears fell to Leeds in the first round of the AHSAA Class 4A-5A playoffs.
Lincoln had five players to make the all-county team.
Jaleel Harris was named the Most Outstanding Defender. Harris played a major role in Lincoln recording 17 shutouts this season.
“Jaleel was our rock star all year,” Lincoln head coach Michael Duff said. “He was the best player on the field at all times. He was one of the big reasons for the 17 shutouts that we had. He led our defense as a center-back. Before the season we tried to decide who was going to be our main center back because over the course of two years we have lost four really good ones. I threw Jaleel’s name out there and went with him. He was shutting people down all year long. His speed, his aggression, and his ability to react to the ball made it hard for opponents to get past him.”
Nick Munroe was selected as Keeper of the Year. Munroe had a huge season for Lincoln. The Golden Bears goalkeeper recorded 17 shutouts and 108 saves this season. Munroe had a save percentage of 81 percent and he only allowed 21 goals in 25 games this season for Lincoln.
“He has been in the goal for four years for us and he did a great job back there,” Duff said. “He has the third most shutouts in state history for all classifications. He had 108 saves and he had a save percentage of 81 percent. He had a really good season for us.”
Jaylon Rivers, Jayden Woods, and Mason Hill also earned all-county honors.
Childersburg’s Daniel Warlick, Munford’s Dakota Frank as well as Talladega’s Angel Villanueva-Cruz, and Jackson Burel earned all-county honors.