The First Presbyterian Christian Academy Highlander boys’ soccer team’s tough 2-1 loss to Frederica in Saturday’s state-title game was made a little easier to swallow after many Highlanders were named to the 2014 All-State and All-Region teams this week.
Several Lady ’Landers also made the lists in their division.
FPCA coach Tom Sukaratana said the way the Highlanders played in the championship game on St. Simons Island showed true heart and dedication.
“The first 15-20 minutes, nobody scored,” he said, adding that his offense was able to stay on the Knight’s third of the field. “But we made one mistake and they scored first ... then they blocked a penalty kick, and we got pumped up. When it was 1-0 at halftime … I had thought to myself before the game started that if it was 0-0 or 1-0 by halftime, we could do it.”
The coach said the Highlanders were inspired to dig deep, as FPCA fans filled half the stadium and cheered them on.
“That was probably one of the best games we’ve played all year,” he said. “If we would have played like that all season, we would have probably been undefeated. Zachary Vasquez played the best game of his life.”
Sukaratana said the hardest part of ending the soccer year was not the title-game loss.
“The hard part is having all these seniors that I’ve had on the team for a long time and having to say goodbye,” he said. “This was also the last time I would get to coach my son (Clark).”
Five Highlanders were named to the All-State team, and two others were honorable mentions. Tareak Barnes, Tyler Causer, Stanford Graham, Clark Sukaratana and Ricky Gilliard were named first-team All-State. Highlander goalkeeper Joshua Kuhns and Nate Hart received honorable mention.
Barnes, Causer, Gilliard, Graham Hart, Sukaratana and Kuhns also were selected for the All-Region Team this week by the committee of Class AA coaches. CJ Dargan and Vasquez received honorable mention.
For the girls’ All-State Team, coaches unanimously selected Brooke Standard for All-State. Summer Mehalko and freshman Cecilia Graham also were chosen. Mary Kathryn Whitney and Ausett Gibbs received honorable mention.
Graham, Mehalko, Standard, Whitney, Gibbs, Arianna Burkett and MacKenzie Buckley were selected to the All-Region team.