Granite Bears clean up in soccer awards
Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
Mount Airy’s record-setting soccer season has provided the Granite Bears with several postseason awards.
On Monday, the team received two awards from the Northwest Conference for player of the year to Mitchell Brown and coach of the year to Will Hurley.
The Bears had seven players make the Northwest All-Conference Team, four make the All-Region Team and two made the All-State Team.
“I am honored to get the award,” Brown said upon receiving his player of the year plaque Monday. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I am just happy we had such a good season and won so much.”
Mount Airy won 20 games for the first time in program history and tied for first in league play with East Surry.
Mitchell has bounced back in a big way from what had to be a disappointing sophomore year, said Coach Hurley.
The Bears went 14-7 under then-coach Eric Leathers when Brown was a freshman, but then the sophomore broke a bone in his foot and missed almost all of that season. The Bears went 12-8-1 then.
Over the past two season, the Bears have gone 35-20-3 with Brown as a co-captain both years.
Brown said he wanted to thank his coaches — Will Hurley, Leathers and assistant coach Holden Hurley — for the help they have given him over the past four years. He gave an extra thank you to Will Hurley for nominating him for the postseason honors and pleading Brown’s credentials.
Brown said his favorite moment of this past season was the penalty kick shootout with East Surry. The Bears and Cardinals tied for first place in the conference, so they settled the seeding for the playoffs with a shootout, with the Bears winning on the final kick.
As for his improvement during his time at Mount Airy, Brown thanked teammate Carlos Carrillo for getting him in better shape with their hard work in practice. He also noted his own maturity, saying he is much better able to take constructive criticism now.
Brown and Carrillo were named to the all-region team along with Felipe Chavez and Sam Watson. Then Brown and Carrillo were named to the all-state team as well. Hurley said the boys will receive that honor at a banquet in late January.
Will Hurley and Holden Hurley were named all-regional coaches, and Will said Holden received all-state honors for an assistant coach.
“There is not a person out there who is more dedicated and just into the game than Holden,” said Will. “He loves to be around the kids.”
Soccer isn’t the only sport where Brown is being honored.
In addition to leading the Bears in soccer assists, Brown was the punter and placekicker for the football team.
Brown led the conference in kickoff touchbacks with 18 and made several field goals to be named the special teams player of the year for the Northwest Conference.
As kicker, he made 45-48 extra points (93.8 percent) and 8-14 field goals with a long of 44 yards.
At the start of the season, quarterback Logan Holder was the punter, but the coaches moved Brown there after a few games.
Brown said he wanted to punt for the team last year, but he wasn’t any good at it. Over the summer he worked on his punting and kept getting better and better.
For the season, he booted 35 punts with a 37.0-yard average and a long of 67.
He earned the respect of his football teammates for making three solo tackles on kick and punt returners as well.
Hurley said this is the first time in school history that a Bear has been named to the all-conference team for both soccer and football.
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