4 Hornets tabbed All-state
BRYANT – After a record-breaking season in which the Bryant Hornets went 16-3-2 overall, won the 6A Central Conference championship and made their first-ever state tournament title game (3-0 loss to Springdale), four Hornets earned All-state honors while eight others picked up 6A Central Allconference nods.
Seniors Luis Lara, Henry Terry and Martin Ramirez, and junior Brandon Delgadillo all took home All-state honors, while Lara, senior Thomas Bullington and junior goalkeeper Codi Kirby were named to the All-state Tournament team.
Delgadillo led the Hornets with nine goals on the season after starting the year in a different spot.
“I moved him into a different position to give him more offensive abilities and a freedom to play with less defensive responsibility,” Bryant Head Coach Rick Friday said. “I pushed him off on the right side where he could come with his left foot and score. When you look at his goals, those were his goals attacking from the right side across the field with a good shot with his left foot. I think that suited him well because he played to the things he does well, which is go attack.”
Lara had five goals and tied for the team lead with five assists.
“He brought his calmness and his composure
to the the middle of the field,” Friday said of Lara. “Martin (Ramirez) and Brian (Ibarra) kind of sat back in the front of the defense to help break up the opponents’ attack. That allowed Luis a little bit of freedom to run and play and dictate the game.”
Terry also had five goals and five assists for the Hornets.
“He was a workhorse up front,” Friday said of Terry. “He really did the job. He said earlier, ‘I’m not scoring.’ I told him scoring goals is a bonus for us for what you do. Your job is to win the ball up front and hold it for us. Once he realized that role, it kind of helped him out a little bit.”
Ramirez held the defensive line for the Hornets while also adding two goals and two assists.
“Towards the end, he got a little more offensiveminded, which was good,” Friday said. “At the beginning of the season, it was a new role for him. It’s going to be hard to replace that physical presence in the middle of the field. He’s a big body and was hard to get off the ball.”
Earning First-team All-conference honors was Bullington (one goal, AAA All-star), senior Christopher Fuller (two goals, two assists, AAA All-star), senior Danny Linares (one goal, four assists) and the junior Ibarra (one goal).
Taking Second-team All-conference was Kirby (57 saves, five shutouts), junior Carlos Gaytan (one goal, three assists), junior Jonathan Giron (four goals, one assist) and sophomore Grant Jacuzzi (six goals, two assists).
Though the Hornets, which were 13-1 for the Central title, scored more goals last year, they simply didn’t need as many this past season as Bryant’s stingy defense kept opponents at bay. The Hornets led the Central in goals against with 10 in conference (four better than second place Northside), while scoring 39, and gave up just 19 goals all season in their 21 games.
“We’re defensiveminded,” Friday said. “It was something we really emphasized. Last year we scored a lot of goals, but we allowed a lot, too. It didn’t allow us to excel in games at times. One of the goals was we needed to drop the goals-against average at least below 1.0. This year we averaged 0.85 goals against a game. If you don’t give up goals, it’s hard to lose a game.”
No doubt improved defense was no secret to the Hornets’ success this past year, but commitment and unity were also nice additions from last year’s 12-8-3 season for a fourthplace conference finish.
“I told the boys if you come in committed and you work hard, I guarantee you within three years we can make the state championship, and we did,” Friday said. “The kids worked hard. They worked harder than any other program in the state. There were times we did two sessions a day.
“They were dedicated, they were committed. I think the difference in this season and last year’s team was there was more unity and harmony. Last year we had all the talent, but it was really heavy seniorladen and trying to make the kids happy probably brought the team down a little bit. I don’t think the commitment was there last year, but this year it was there. The kids did well. The last three years we have grown as a program to where we can reproduce it. Hopefully we’re building something that can be continuous year after year after year.”
Bryant junior Brandon Delgadillo, 16, competes in the 6A State Tournament championship game at Razorback Field in Fayetteville last month. Delgadillo led the Hornets in goals, earning All-state honors. Bryant senior Martin Ramirez, 99, competes in the 6A State Tournament championship game at Razorback Field in Fayetteville last month. Ramirez is one of four Hornets getting All-state honors after a 16-3-2 season.
Bryant senior Henry Terry, 2, competes in the 6A State Tournament championship game last month. Terry earned All-state honors.
Bryant senior Luis Lara competes in the 6A State Tournament championship game last month. Lara earned All-state honors.