HARLINGEN — San Benito coach William Huerta knew at the start of the 2020 season he had an experienced group of players hungry to show they could improve upon last year’s early exit from the postseason.
“The whole team put in hard work and dedication,” Huerta said. “I can’t take that away from them. They came together as a team. They wanted to do something special this year.”
Huerta and assistant coaches Jesus Zuniga, Carlos Zuniga and Pedro Contreras guided the Greyhounds to a 19-18-1 overall record and a 6-4 mark in district play.
For his efforts in leading San Benito to the second playoff seed in an ultra competitive District 32-6A, Huerta is the Valley Morning Star’s 2020 All-STAR Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“It’s an honor, I thank God first and foremost,” Huerta said. “Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the coaching staff I have, they’re dedicated to what we do. … We all work hard with the boys and instill values in them, not only for the game but for academic (success).”
San Benito relied heavily upon its senior class, including top scorers Adrian Martinez and Andy Mares, but the Greyhounds were a balanced group from top to bottom, featuring eight players with at least five goals and three others who tallied at least three goals.
Huerta’s squad was tied with Hanna as the highest-scoring 32-6A team, with 57 goals in 38 games.
Other key contributors were seniors Ever Cruz and Senovio Cerdan, juniors Axel Rivera and David Davila, and sophomore Ricardo Sanchez.
San Benito picked up crucial victories over playoff qualifiers Brownsville Rivera and Brownsville Hanna and district champion Los Fresnos in the final game of the season.
The Greyhounds told Huerta that their goal was not only to make the playoffs, but to make a good run in the playoffs.
While the University Interscholastic League’s decision to cancel spring sports due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic made those plans impossible, Huerta said he and his staff have plenty to be proud of about San Benito’s performance this year.
“It’s unfortunate that the soccer season was cut short because of the (pandemic),” Huerta said. “I feel for our seniors because they worked really hard to get into the playoffs, and they felt confident along with the rest of the team and coaches that they would make a good run this season. I can say, though, that our seniors have strengthened the foundation for the upcoming seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen, and left a tradition for them to continue.”