The West Wilkes soccer team, a squad on the cusp of a berth in the 2A state playoffs, edged East Wilkes, 2-1, in Ronda on March 2.
“I thought we played well and controlled the game for most of the contest,” said Quintin Parsons, the West assistant coach. “We also missed some good chances to score.”
The only goal before halftime occurred when West sophomore forward Alexi Ramires took the ball near midfield and outraced the East defense before unloading a 15-yard shot that found the back of the net. The score came with 29:20 left in the first half.
In the second half, Ramires played a through ball and then booted it by the Cardinal goalie into the bottom right corner of the net for a 2-0 West lead.
The Cardinals notched their lone goal with about 10 minutes left in the game. Senior Adalian Ventura-Trinidad scored on an unassisted play.
With their fifth straight win, the Blackhawks improved to 6-2 in Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference play and remained a game and a half ahead of Ashe County (5-4) for the league’s lone 2A state playoff berth.
The Cardinals fell to 2-6.
West Wilkes tied Ashe County, 2-2, in a matchup with playoff implications in West Jefferson on Monday.
The Huskies opened the scoring 27 minutes into the game, but the Blackhawks answered right back a minute later when sophomore attacking midfielder Moses Reyes scored from outside the box after a throw-in by freshman defender Aiden Miller.
Thanks to Reyes’ score off Miller’s assist, the match was deadlocked 1-all at the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, Ashe took a 2-1 lead. Later, with eight minutes left in regulation, West tied it up when senior defender Roman Perez scored after a corner kick by sophomore forward Daniel Ramires.
Neither team managed to score during two 10-minute overtime periods.
With the tie, the 6-3-2 Blackhawks maintained a half-game lead over the 6-4-1 Huskies in the race for the MVAC’s 2A playoff spot. West can clinch that berth with a home victory Wednesday against North Wilkes or an Ashe loss Wednesday at league-leading Starmount.
Host Elkin turned back East Wilkes on Monday, 6-1.
The Cardinals’ first half goal came when senior Jorge Lopez passed the ball from the midfield to senior Dylan Ward, who was in the striker position.
”I believe Dylan actually lost possession approaching the goalie box and the Elkin player that took possession attempted to pass to their goalkeeper,” recalled East Coach Avery Wallis. “(The ball) somehow made its way past the goalkeeper and into the goal.”
The Buckin’ Elks improved to 9-2-1 and the Cardinals slipped to 2-8.
League-leading Starmount got two first-half goals in a 2-0 shutout of West Wilkes in Millers Creek on Thursday.
Freshman Christian Maya and sophomore Pablo Alvarez had goals for the Rams, who improved to 10-1 with their fourth straight win. Juniors Johnathan Maya and Said Loeza-Toleno assisted on the two scores.
The Blackhawks had five shots on goal, all of which were saved by senior Gregory Tulbert.
West slipped to 6-3-1 and remained a half-game ahead of 6-4 Ashe County in the race for the MVAC’s 2A playoff berth.
West Wilkes forged a 0-0 tie with host Elkin on March 3.
“We played good, and there weren’t many great chances to score in the game,” noted Blackhawk assistant coach Quintin Parsons. “It was an overall good game and gives us confidence going into our last three games.”
After the scoring standoff, the second-place Buckin’ Elks were 8-2-1 and the third-place Blackhawks stood at 6-2-1.
A couple of first-half goals were enough for league-leading Starmount to hold off North Wilkes in Boonville on March 3.
Juniors Brayan Rodriguez and Johnathan Maya had goals for the Rams, who improved to 9-1 in MVAC play with the 2-0 victory. The scores were assisted by Brandon Ocampo and Pablo Alvarez.
Senior goalkeeper Gregory Tulbert had five saves for Starmount.
The Vikings dropped to 3-6 with the loss.
Ashe County took a 3-1 decision over East Wilkes in West Jefferson on March 3.
Sophomore Dylan Short found the net twice for the Huskies. Alex Luna, a senior, had a goal and assist for Ashe and senior Cristian Ramos assisted on the other goal.
East sophomore James Cook scored in the second half on a volley off of a corner kick against senior goalie Roberto Acevedo-Rojo, who had two saves. Ashe senior Ramces Lopez had three saves in the first half.
The Huskies bettered to 6-4 in MVAC while the Cardinals descended to 2-7.
Elkin blanked North Wilkes, 4-0, in Hays on March 2.
The Buckin’ Elks improved to 8-2, a half-game behind Starmount (8-1) at the top of the MVAC. The Vikings slipped to 3-5.
North Wilkes senior guard Zack Carlton and West Wilkes coach Allie Greene were honored Wednesday as basketball player and coach of the year in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference.
Carlton averaged 15.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.1 assists and helped the 8-6 Vikings amass the best record among Wilkes boy prep teams and finish third in the MVAC.
“This award means a lot to our program and to Zack,” said Logan Call, the North coach. “Any time you have a player that is player-of-the-year caliber it means the team around him had to do some great things as well.
“I am very proud of Zack’s growth as a player and a young man over the past four years and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes as he moves on to Warren Wilson (College).”
Call said that Carlton really matured over the season and became a complete player. “He has always been a great shooter and he continued that this season, but he also attacked and finished at the rim at a high level this year.”
Carlton’s biggest improvement, according to Call, came as a rebounder and defender this season. “He became a guy we could put on the other team’s best player and trust he could do the job, and he also led us in rebounding from the guard position this year.”
The program’s last player of the year was Jordan Wallis, who was named co-POY in 2015-16.
Under Greene’s direction, the Blackhawks finished 12-0 in the MVAC and captured the program’s first outright league championship. Greene was also the league’s coach of the year in 2018-19, when West was co-champion with Wilkes Central.
“COY is an honor at any time but especially with the great coaches we have in our conference,” said Greene. “While COY may seem like my honor it is not just mine. I couldn’t have been given COY without the help of an amazing coach staff. They help in game decisions and help with making practice competitive and relevant.”
Greene added, “I also have help from my family. Without my family I wouldn’t be able to be a mom and coach.”
Her players had the biggest roles in her recognition, Greene explained. “We can come up with game plans and scout and make practice plans that work them hard, but they are the ones out there putting everything into place. Without the conference champions on the team there is no COY.”
In addition to Carlton, North senior Colby Brown, East Wilkes sophomore Ledger Blackburn, East senior Dylan Ward, West Wilkes senior Dylan Miller, Wilkes Central senior Jonah Brooks and Central sophomore Anthony Graham were named all-conference.
Honorable mention went to East sophomore Braxton Long, East senior Brayson Church, North senior Caleb Souther, North senior Trenton Sidden, West senior Austin Triplette, West junior Jaxson Tribble, Central junior Spencer Leatherman and Central sophomore Kamen Smith.
Boys coach of the year was Ashe County’s Nathan Colvard, who led the 10-3 Huskies to the league crown.
Elkin’s Audrey Jennings was named MVAC girls player of the year.
All-conference was awarded to East Wilkes sophomore Lilly Adams, North Wilkes senior McKenzie Johnson, North senior Shelby Roal, West Wilkes senior Jamilyn Wilcox, West junior Carson Ledford, West senior Jamesyn Bell, West junior Kendall Stanley, West senior Cheyenne Clonch, Wilkes Central junior Zoe Susi, Central junior Makenna Freeman and Central junior Sarah Lowe.
Honorable mention was bestowed upon East Wilkes freshman Kierstin Johnson, East junior Killian Warren, North Wilkes sophomore Kate Brown, North freshman Kyleigh Miller, West Wilkes senior Gracie Lambert, West sophomore Parker Childress, Wilkes Central senior Karlie Anderson and Central senior Jacklyn Richardson.