Pope picked for top honor

Lincoln senior Nick Pope was selected first-team on both the Class 4A-5A Coaches All-State team and the 1A-7A all-state team.

Seven high school soccer players, including five boys and two girls, from The Daily Home’s coverage area earned recognition on the Coaches All-State teams for the 2019 season.

Lincoln senior Nick Pope was selected first-team all-state in Class 4A-5A and first-team for the 1A-7A all-state team. The senior forward notched 60 goals and nine assists for the Golden Bears. He finished his career as the second all-time scorer in Alabama High School Athletic Association history with 164 goals.

Pope wasn’t alone on the 1A-7A squad. Senior forward Jaylon Hudson claimed an honorable mention spot on the team.

“When I first found out, I was very excited about those guys being able to receive recognition for it,” Lincoln head coach Michael Duff said. “Both of them are well-deserving of it. They’re hard workers, they’re team players and that showed on the field, especially all the records that they broke this year and the season that we had.

“Those two guys played a major part in our success and the foundation of the Lincoln soccer program since it was built.”

Lincoln’s season ended in the first round of the 4A-5A playoffs with a 3-1 loss to Springville. The Golden Bears went 16-7-2 in 2019 and were runners-up in both the Talladega County Tournament and 4A-5A, Area 10.

Sylacauga’s boys landed a pair of seniors on the 4A-5A squad, Rodrigo Estavillo and Dennis Marrs.

“It’s a good way to go out for our two seniors,” Sylacauga head coach Billy Faircloth said.

As a defender, Marrs also picked up a second-team selection on the 1A-7A team. He finished the season with 17 goals and eight assists, and guided the team to 11 shutouts.

“I was surprised, really pleased and happy for Dennis to be named to the second team of 1A-7A because that’s a mixture of the best players in the state,” Faircloth said. “There’s some top names on there.

“This year being Dennis’ first year playing defense said a lot about the way he played and that other coaches across the state (noticed his play).”

Estavillo and freshman goalkeeper Camden Faircloth made honorable mention as part of the 1A-7A team.

Serving as team captain for the Aggies, Estavillo scored 30 goals and added 16 assists.

“Rodrigo, I thought, had a heckuva year,” Faircloth said. “He had an amazing year, but it’s kind of tricky because he’s up against a lot of midfielders. When you talk 1A-7A midfielders, those are some lofty, high numbers.

“Rod had his goals from a midfield point, not from camping out as a striker. Rod worked. He has a motor.”

Faircloth also played a role in the Aggies’ 11 shutouts and made 53 saves.

“When you look at the list of saves, and you’ve got all these guys with 100 or 200 saves, that’s awesome,” Faircloth said. “For Camden, I guess, with the 53, it comes from he had a pretty solid defense in front of him, and they did a really good job of not allowing him to have to make a lot of saves.”

The Aggies fell 8-0 to Briarwood Christian in the 4A-5A quarterfinals and finished 16-6-1. Sylacauga won the Talladega County Tournament and the 4A-5A, Area 5 title.

On the girls’ side, Keziah Sanders represented Sylacauga as a first-team selection on the 4A-5A unit. The senior goalkeeper made 102 saves and scored 13 shutouts.

Sanders joined centerback Jillian Foster as honorable mentions for the 1A-7A team.

“They both are well-deserving,” Lady Aggies head coach Nick Grogan said. “They are most definitely the best at what they do in their positions.

“I’m super proud to have had the opportunity to coach both of them and I wish I could have had them longer because they’re going to move on to bigger and better things and accomplish a lot in life.”

The Lady Aggies (15-6) advanced to the 4A-5A quarterfinals but lost 6-0 to John Carroll Catholic. Sylacauga won the Talladega County Tournament and the 4A-5A, Area 6 Title. 

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