by JASON GORDON
Heading into the spring semester, only one Lehman High athlete in the history of the school had ever been named to an All-State team.
The Lobos got the news recently that number would be changing – and it was twice as nice.
Both Lehman midfielder Eli Guajardo and forward Fernando Mercado were named to the second-team All-State soccer team by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches.
“Anytime you’re named All-State, it’s special,” Lehman head soccer coach Jay Sansom said. “Eli and Fernando were a big part of what we accomplished as a team this year.”
Mercado set a Lehman single-season scoring record with 25 goals, including three in the playoffs. He was also named District 49-4A MVP.
Guajardo led Lehman in assists and helped drive the team’s offense.
Both Mercado and Guajardo were also named first-team All-Region.
“Eli and Fernando both added a higher level of skill to our team,” said Lehman goalkeeper Andres Castro. “They demanded respect from our opponents and made our attacking force one to fear.”
Baseball player Nick Cerda, who was named second-team All-State last year, was the only other Lehman player in history to earn this prestigious accolade.
It seems appropriate the Lehman boys soccer team would be the one to add to that number.
The Lobos became the first Lehman team in school history to win a playoff game in a team sport this season with a 3-0 win over Connally in the bi-district round.
“We’ve had some exciting things happen this school year,” Sansom said. “We’re trying to build on what we’ve accomplished and awards like these, and playoff wins, will obviously help get people talking and will help build your program.”
Lehman Athletic Director Todd Raymond agreed making an All-State team was quite an achievement.
“It’s a huge accomplishment because you’re getting voted on by people outside the program,” Raymond said. “It’s something these kids will remember the rest of their lives. It also does a lot to help put Lehman High School and Lobo soccer on the map.”
In addition, Hays High senior defender Jake Morrison was named second-team All-Region.
“Jake has always been the guy keeping everyone in line and playing the game by the rules,” Hays head coach Jason Burnett said. “He did a great job for us dictating the flow of the game from the back and keeping us playing winning soccer. He was a big part of our back-to-back district title winning teams.”
Morrison said he was surprised to hear the news he was named All-Region, but added it was a team effort.
“The truth is, I didn’t really know how to act,” Morrison said. “It’s not every day you learn you made an All-Region team. It put a fantastic cap on my last year of high school. Team work most definitely factors into an award like this because if you didn’t have your teammates you wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of the things you did.”