The two players who share the top boys soccer honors were both impact players on their respective teams in 2017.
Newnan High senior forward Matthew Crow helped lead the 9-6-1 Cougars to the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs this season for the first time in four years, tallying 22 goals and six assists on the year. Along the way, he made the All-Region team and was the team’s offensive player of the year.
For his efforts, Crow was named as the 2017 Newnan Times-Herald Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Across town, the Northgate Vikings couldn’t overcome the loss of 15 seniors from last year’s state-finalist squad and didn’t qualify for the the 2017 state playoffs. Despite a down season, Vikings senior forward Jacky Cheng scored 16 goals and had 14 assists, playing with tremendous resolve, toughness and skill to help Northgate at least win back-to-back Coweta Cup championships.
For all his efforts, Cheng was also named as the 2017 Newnan Times-Herald Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Crow scored four of his 22 goals in region play and had an assist in region play while helping Newnan end its state-playoff drought. He was the catalyst for the Cougars, and he received help from teammates like Alex Glomba, who scored seven goals and had four assists, Giovani Enriquez (four goals, three assists) and Tanner Bassett (five goals, five assists). Defensively, Newnan goalkeeper Jack Vargas helped Crow and the rest of the Cougars with 69 saves – 34 saves in region play.
Goals and assists cannot begin to tell the story of Cheng’s importance to the Vikings.
“Whenever Jacky was on the field, I knew we had a great chance to compete,” said Vikings head coach Bryan Hicks. “He has tremendous skills and intellect, and he always makes the right play at the right time. He’s a true leader in every sense of the word.”
Cheng was able to inspire his teammates to win the 2017 Coweta Cup, knowing that the annual county contest was the only highlight of the Vikings’ season. In Game 1 of the Coweta Cup against East Coweta, Cheng tied the match at 2-2 with a penalty kick in regulation, then hit the game-winning penalty kick after overtime for the 3-2 victory.
In the Coweta Cup finals against Crow and Newnan High, Cheng’s first-half goal was the lone score in the entire match in the 1-0 win for the title. Cheng got help in the Coweta Cup from teammates Angel Pascual (goal scored against EC) and goalkeeper Kyle McLaren (two blocked penalty kicks against EC).
East Coweta and Newnan had five players on the All-County First Team, while Heritage had three first-teamers. Trinity and Northgate had one player each named to the All-County First Team.
EC and Heritage each had four players on the All-County Second Team, followed by Trinity with three and Newnan and Northgate with two players each.
2017 Newnan Times-Herald All-County Boys Soccer Team
CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
Jacky Cheng, Northgate, Sr
Matthew Crow, Newnan, Sr
M Baylor Asher, East Coweta, Jr
M Tanner Bassett, Newnan, Soph
D Giovani Enriquez, Newnan, Jr
Jordan Flagg, Trinity, Sr
M Alex Glomba, Newnan, Jr
D Christopher Gmeiner, Heritage, Jr
GK Ryan Grant, Heritage, Sr
GK Brian Green, East Coweta, Sr
F Evan Mahr, Northgate, Sr
M Zach Robinson, Heritage, Jr
D Robbie Rowlinson, East Coweta, Sr
D Cade Stotts, Newnan, Sr
GK Jack Vargas, Newnan, Sr
D Peter Walker, East Coweta, Jr
F Andrew Wilson, East Coweta, Soph
D Ismael Aguirre, East Coweta, Jr
F Hays Burns, Heritage, Jr
Ian Collins, Trinity, Sr
M Eric Geeter, East Coweta, Sr
M Jack Hunt, Heritage, Soph
F Will LaGuardia, Heritage, Sr
M Colin Lambert, Newnan, Sr
Cristian Loris, Trinity, Jr
Kasey McGinnis, Trinity, Sr
GK Kyle McLaren, Northgate, Jr
M Wyatt Palmer, East Coweta, Jr
D Gridley Pendergrast, Heritage, Soph
M Brandon Ribau, Northgate, Jr
M Justin Sanchez, Newnan, Fr
M Tyler Stewart, East Coweta, Soph
Matthew Allen, Ty Harrison — East Coweta
Harrison Geerlings, Hunt Thomas, Andrew Vazquez, Daniel Wellons — Heritage
Mills Briggs — Newnan
Ben Crowe, Angel Pascual — Northgate