Leading the way was senior midfielder Zack Edwards, who also earned a spot on the All-Region IV second team. A recent Emory & Henry College signee, Edwards was among the Cavaliers’ team leaders in both scoring and assists. But as valuable as his offensive skills were to Carroll County, it was his leadership that paid dividends for the Cavs in 2008.
“He did a real good job of leadership on and off the field. He was just a real good leader for the kids to look up to. If I told the team to jump off a bridge, he would be the first one to jump,” said Marion Harris, who recently stepped down as Carroll County’s boys’ soccer coach. “He was also one of the first, if not the first, from Carroll to make a Roanoke travel team. He took Luis Lemus, Gustavo Mar and Roger Perez with him and it was a great experience for them all.”
While Edwards played primarily midfielder, Harris moved him to defense late in the year, particularly against the powerful Abingdon team and SWD Player of the Year Neil Henry.
“I moved him back to the back because of Neil Henry to help mark him and that strategy worked well, particularly in the game where we tied them,” Harris said.
Senior forward Chris Hawks was also one of Carroll’s leading scorers. Harris was impressed with Hawks’ all-out attitude in the way he played and led by example.
“He had deceptive speed. If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t know he was very fast and he would just blow past you,” Harris said. “He always gave 100 percent no matter what. If he lost the ball, he would come from behind and do whatever he could to get the ball back. He got quite a few yellow cards, but you don’t mind it when he was trying to get the ball back. He was not ever dirty in his play.”
Just a sophomore, goalkeeper Zack Surratt had a phenomenal campaign in 2008. He recorded four shutouts and held seven more opponents to one goal in earning SWD Goalie of the Year accolades. Eight of Carroll’s 11 losses were by one goal.
“We were in every game we played and a lot of that was due to Zack. He has great athletic ability, but he also did a great job of trying to absorb everything we tried to teach him,” Harris said. “It’s hard to imagine a 10th grader being a leader, but just his presence back there was big for our defense. They were comfortable with him in goal.”
Carroll County has had some outstanding goalkeepers in recent memory, most notably two-time All-Group AA selection John Lancaster. But Harris said Surratt already compares favorably to some of the Cavalier greats.
“We’ve had some excellent goalkeepers, but he is right up there with them,” Harris said. “Obviously he has a long way to go to overtake John, but he has the ability if he wants to and if he continues to work hard.”
Seniors Luis Lemus, Gustavo Mar and Asa Gravely all were selected to the All-SWD second team.
A three-year letterman, Lemus was a versatile player that played numerous positions during his time at Carroll. He moved to center defender early in the year when a player was lost and performed admirably.
“He was a very quiet player, but just a kid that had a great passion for the game,” Harris said. “He was a great leader by example and he played with a lot of heart.”
A four-year varsity letterman for Carroll, Mar was Carroll’s remaining holdover from the 2005 team that swept the SWD regular season and district tournament championships. A forward at times in the past, Mar played mostly defending midfielder in 2008.
“Gustavo was very dedicated and a very hard worker,” Harris said. “He would do anything for a teammate.”
Another senior and three-year letterman, Gravely improved as much as anyone on the team during his varsity career.
“He was a good example of a hard-working player. He really set a good example with his work ethic,” Harris said. “He really, really improved with his first touch on the ball.”
Harris said it is amazing to look back and see how far Gravely, Mar, Lemus, Hawks and Edwards have come over the past few years.
“It’s amazing to think back to the first year I had them and then what they were able to do this year on the field,” Harris said. “The results in the end may not have been how we liked them, but you could really tell a difference in their skills and just their approach to life. That is what it is all about.”
Mikey Payne, Gareth Surratt, Lucas Webb, Koy Worrell, Josh Bolt, Matt Felts, and Roger Perez all were rewarded with honorable mentions to the All-SWD team.
Abingdon’s Mike Leonard was tabbed as SWD Coach of the Year, while the Falcons’ Neil Henry was named player of the year.